After living in Melbourne and working at Hawk & Hunter and Little Ox, Geelong boy Robbie Lecchino returned home to test the salty waters. He opened King of the Castle, his hole-in-the-wall coffee shop in the loading dock of a bakery, at the end of 2013. In the first week, he went through 36 kilograms of Padre Coffee beans.
The locals’ enthusiasm hasn’t waned since.
“The Castle” is now a refurbished automotive repair garage down the street from the original site. The fit-out hasn’t strayed far from its industrial roots, with a few updates such as polished concrete floors, hanging plants and marble-tiled walls. The space also has a commercial kitchen, gelato stand, coffee bar and a cabinet stocked with Pana Chocolate cakes.
Chef Greg Egan trained at Ezard. His menu spans the health spectrum, from Anzac hotcakes, to vegan, gluten-free sticky black rice with poached peach and almond custard. You’ll also spot dishes created by Geelong food bloggers, with their Instagram handles attached. If you’re after the full Geelong experience, try the brioche snapper burger with red nam jim dressing and sweet-potato fries.
Almost all the produce is locally sourced. Micro-herbs are delivered weekly by a local grower who operates from her backyard. The cafe also hosts charity markets every month, with all profits going to Feed Geelong.