Freshly made gourmet salads. Specialty coffee. Takeaway. That will be the simple formula for Monocle Coffee when it opens in the middle of this month. It’s a big change of pace for Venzin Group, best known for celebrated food-forward cafes such as Pawpaw Cafe and its Thai restaurant Mons Ban Sabai Thai.
“Food has been a big focus of ours – Asian food, specifically,” says Venzin’s head of operations Chris Hollingsworth. “But everyone’s time poor these days and they’ve got so many options from their couch. People might be running to get their groceries, they get a fresh salad to take home, they [get a coffee]. People are doing these things individually, we just wanted to bring it together.”
Monocle is moving into the former premises of a hair salon on the corners of Thynne Road and Victoria Street in Morningside. Hollingsworth says it will be a straightforward space with 19 seats for those who want to stick around. Otherwise, it’s about pastries, grab-and-go vegetarian and plant-based salads, and specialty coffee.
“We’re serving our own blend, Monocole Coffee,” Hollingsworth says. “But the focus is on guest roasters [such as] St Ali, Veneziano, Seven Seeds, and that kind of thing … we’ll be doing V60 and other alternative methods. We’ll smash out lattes like everyone else if they’re walking out the door, but we really want to educate people on the origins of coffee. What do they like? What are they looking for? Maybe they want to try it a particular way.”
Otherwise it’s about addressing a slightly forgotten corner of the Morningside and Bulimba areas, where things can get a little sparse once you move away from Wynnum Road, or east of Oxford Street and Riding Road.
“It looks like there’s just a computer store there but the foot traffic is consistent, it’s in a nice pocket, there’s a childcare centre across the road,” Hollingsworth says. “We’re [near schools], there’s a police station, an ambulance station. For somewhere that’s so saturated, it was in an isolated pocket.”
Monocle Coffee will open at 188 Thynne Road, Morningside in mid-July.