St Rose’s owners, Domenic and Diana Caruso, took all they learnt at their previous cafe, Espresso 3121 in Richmond, and transported it to Essendon. Having grown up there, the couple wanted to bring some inner-city cafe culture to their local community.
The cafe greets you as you get off the train at Essendon Station. The building was gutted by the couple and reinterpreted by Viola Architecture in 2013 to produce a crisp, clean space populated with greenery from Loose Leaf.
The menu hosts all the usual staples – avocado toast, house-made bircher and corn fritters – alongside popular lunchtime offerings, such as the in-demand superfood bowl. For a sweet fix there are Health Lab protein balls, Ace cookies, Butterbing Cookie Sandwiches and Doughboys doughnuts.
A neon-white circle spliced by a piece of reclaimed wood adorns one of the white-washed walls. It represents a halo and subtly references the “saint” part of the cafe’s name. Everything from this, to the cafe’s logo and the staff’s handmade Carpenter’s Daughter aprons has been well-considered.