It’s been a pub, a brothel and an art gallery. But the latest transformation of Cromwell Manor in Collingwood may be its most revolutionary.
The 150-year-old heritage site is now an 80-seat cafe, bakery and state-of-the-art coffee roastery run by STREAT, a social enterprise that trains young people experiencing homelessness.
It has a seasonal menu designed by Melbourne Zoo’s former head chef Di Kerry, and a world-class bakery funded by Deyrick Upton of Breadsolutions.
All coffee is roasted on-site and the aromas of freshly baked bread and croissants drift across the courtyard long into the morning. A $3.5 million redesign by Six Degrees brought new life to the space. One million was raised through crowdfunding, and NAB and Social Ventures Australia loaned the rest.
The original brick walls still stand, stained with soot from the chimneys, and some of the more colourful characters from Cromwell’s past are immortalised on the menu. One popular drink is the Immoral Irene’s Gin Screwdriver, so named for a local woman who once made headlines at Cromwell Manor for “carrying on with a sailor”.
Since it started in 2010, STREAT has trained more than 520 disadvantaged youth in hospitality across five cafe sites in Melbourne. Thanks to Cromwell’s additional training academy, the enterprise helps 365 young people each year.