Daniel Dick (formerly head barista at Melbourne coffee institution St Ali), the owner of cafe Nigel, believes the tuna-melt jaffle is an unsung hero.
Nigel doesn’t look like much from the outside; it has a couple of tables out the front and some emerald-green umbrellas providing shade. It sits up the hill from Camberwell Junction among a cluster of high-rise commercial buildings, and it’s next door to a pathology clinic. The word “incredible” is written on the front entrance.
The coffee blends and single origins come from St Ali. The certified organic Feels Good blend is used for the black coffee. It’s robust, but also sweet with a pronounced acidity to it.
There are six jaffles to choose from. Beyond the creamy tuna melt there’s a ham, cheese and tomato chutney version, and one with baked beans and smoky chicken. Each morning the countertop cloche is packed with home-baked sweets, by Dick’s wife, Alexandra Bird.
The fit-out gives special consideration to functionality. It’s clean and contemporary but still elegant, with terrazzo floors, timber furnishings and a deep oceanic green ceiling.
On the wall there’s a framed photo of the cafe’s namesake, Nigel Dick, Dick’s late grandfather, who he describes as “my mentor and my hero”.