In a suburb best known for its cheap-and-cheerful Asian eateries and bustling food market, Guerilla Espresso is leading the charge in cafe culture, not to mention strong coffee. Opposite Footscray train station, the cafe is fronted by Jagdev Singh and Evan Lindau, who bring local knowledge and coffee nous to the fore. Singh was most recently at West Footscray’s West 48 cafe, while Lindau was head of sales for Allpress and a barista trainer in the UK.
The boys have transformed an old Thai DVD store into a smart, coffee-centric bolthole cafe. Planter boxes filled with herbs hem in a footpath dining area, while inside, four stools are arranged along a narrow ledge at the window. Taking pride of place is a La Marzocco Strada machine, set atop a custom-built bench from Simon Cunningham of Volant. The striking one-off piece comprises layered sheets of plywood and primary coloured acrylic, which have been laser cut to create a curvaceous workstation.
Guerilla’s menu is a tight edit of cafe must-haves, with freshly pressed juices, Dr Marty’s organic crumpets and toasties, of which you can take your pick from four meats and four cheeses (such as prosciutto and mozzarella, or ham and gruyere), plus extras including fresh tomato and pickled onion. The toasties are served with spiced tomato chutney, which comes courtesy of local catering crew Eat at Home, along with soups that change daily. Carrot cakes and vanilla cupcakes arrive courtesy of The Premises and Sicilian sweets come from Dolcetti.
Using an Allpress Full City blend, Lindau expertly coaxes espressos from the machine, but more impressive still is the attention given to the pour-over, which draws on hand-ground Proud Mary Guatemalan beans to create a bright, nuanced brew.
But it’s not just the pour-overs and hand-ground brews that are shaking up the Footscray cafe scene. “We’ve signed up with Madam Truffles and are going to be offering truffle and cheese toasties for the next four to six weeks,” says Singh. “Truffles would’ve never set foot in Footscray before,” he quips.
Shop 228 Footscray Markets, Footscray
(Irving Street entrance)
(03) 9995 4054
Mon to Fri 6am–4pm