Sitting on the corner of Were Street, Brighton, Balmains fills an empty void in the area, pumping out consistently excellent coffee and all day breakfasts.
Smiling staff welcome you into what feels more like someone’s home rather than a shopfront. Owner Zach Balmain was inspired by a trip to Italy, where he worked in a family-run cafe for eight months. Seduced by the warmth of the business, Zach realised he wanted to achieve this back home. Together with his Dad, he renovated the cute corner shop where Balmains stand today, having quickly taken on a community vibe.
Bringing it back to basics, Balmains’ focus is on simple yet tasty food and making superior coffee. Hung high on a chalkboard, the menu selection is small, but the modest croissant or avocado and feta toast ooze flavour and freshness. Eggs are there, as are the usual side suspects, as well as Bircher museli and some cheesymite soldiers for the kids.
Balmain himself holds the barista reins, serving a Five Senses Dark Horse blend on his beautiful Synesso, while his business partner (and grandmother) Somer takes care of the floor and the baking. Word has spread around bayside and beyond about the quality of the coffee – locals hustle through the door each morning.
Capable, friendly staff add to the homely feeling. Even during the morning rush, customers are seated quickly and the warm and timber surrounds invite all to cosy up.