Every now and then heading off the main drag can lead to an Alice in Wonderland type discovery. Approaching Project 281 in Brunswick, nothing could have prepared me for what we found inside. An enormous factory style convert just custom built for great coffee and companionship.
Instantly you are struck by the space and the amazing interior layout with greenery everywhere, accented by spectacular wrought iron lattice light fittings, wooden furniture, concrete blocks and stone walls. The vibe screams community, you could easily sit at a table of two or four but it's the communal tables that take pride of place. I felt like I could easily have sat next to a complete stranger and started a conversation. I even enjoyed the Jazz style background music, the vibe was set.
I then unexpectedly stumbled across the back glass room that housed a spectacular roaster, I could image coming on the right morning to watch it all unfold and the aroma of the roasting bean filling the factory. It is the home of Founder Coffee, so here I was in the perfect space, with roasting done on site, great company and a menu in front of me that really popped.
For coffee I just went the house blend, an easy drinking coffee in the mould of a shiraz ... I don't mind that for my second coffee of the day. A medium roast, creamy and nutty, blended from Brazil, Nicaragua and El Salvador. I upped my game and added the cold brew, as has become common practice for me. This was a huge win, served with a slice of orange it brought out such a strong citrus flavour, almost flavoured iced tea like... perfect over ice with lunch.
Then there was lunch... Im no food blog, but the whole Japanese infused menu was deluxe. Multiple flavour explosions all at once, it was almost overwhelming. The presentation of it all was really on point including my wife and daughters non coffee drinks.. fun and engaging.
Overall this was by far the best cafe/coffee combo I have been to. The combination of coffee, food and architecture, mixed with a sustainability message, was spot on. But judging by the lunch queue to get a table, many people know this already.