Situated alongside the Camberwell Railway Station (on the dry side of Burke Rd, unfortunately), The Collective opened August 2009 and is today run by partners Duncan McCance and Mark Jacobson, who have the fine pedigree of experience at Las Chicas and with Atomic Coffee Roasters in New Zealand.
While they’re still young, as the next wave of baristas and cafe owners (Gen Y restaurateurs perhaps???), they know what they’re doing and are on the cusp of something good here.
They pride themselves on being friendly, remembering the names and orders of their customers and showing people a good time as they head to work or just pop in for a short break in their day.
Set in a lovely old shopfront, The Collective is light-filled and very relaxed with one long communal table being the main seating option.
Food is cafe style with the menu changed every couple of months and new ideas and different stuff added on an ad-hoc basis in between.
Breakfast has lots of favourites such as porridge with banana, sultanas and cinnamon, bircher muesli with poached fruit, poached or scrambled eggs on sourdough, or with a potato rosti, chipolatas, spinach and roasted tomato, avocado and feta on sourdough with or without a poached egg, eggs wth spinach, mushrooms and Kaiser flesh bacon and even scrambled eggs with ham and parmesan cheese.
There are also few toasted pides including roast chicken, sundried tomato, rocket and cheese, an open pumpkin sandwich with feta, pesto and rocket, a ham, cheese and tomato with Dijon mustard and one with salami, tomato, chutney, spinach and feta.
There are three daily specials which on the day I visited included a homemade pea and ham soup, a roast chicken salad with green beans and cabbage and a pork belly sandwich.
They use the excellent 5 Senses coffee, made superbly out of the very popular 3 group Synesso machine with my latte was just great.
I like the energy and the feel of this cafe. They may not be industry veterans just yet, but with what’s on offer at The Collective, they’ve definitely got it going on.
Get along and find out for yourself.
The Collective: 3 Cookson St, Camberwell, 3124
Open Mon-Fri: 7am – 5pm, Sat-Sun: 8am – 4pm.
Ph: (03) 9882 8995