Seasoned cafe operator Julien Moussi likes to play golf, but he’s even more into what follows the round. “People always say, ‘I’ll see you on the 19th’,” he says. “Which means after the 18th hole, you go for a drink in the clubhouse.”
Clubhouse Malvern aims to capture that post-game feeling. It’s a place to come together, have a yarn and maybe even celebrate a win. “We want to be a very inclusive environment for everyone in the area and make it a meeting spot,” Moussi says.
He and wife Kristy-Lea opened the space with Adam Vocale, Ben Argentino, Stuart Deva and chef Nicky Campbell – much the same team as is behind Northcote’s Tinker, and Fitzroy’s Bentwood, which opened in December.
“I’m often a small part of the big picture,” says Moussi, who also set up Camberwell’s My Other Brother and Elsternwick’s Penta. “There are so many other people involved, making it all happen.”
The site was formerly Sissi & Co. Moussi heard through his architect that the owners were looking to retire. Being that he grew up in Hawthorn East, and now lives in Malvern, he knew the cafe already had a presence. Within three weeks the deal was done, they closed the doors, and began the transformation.
Unlike the group’s previous projects, Clubhouse was designed in-house. They changed the colour palette, brought in new lighting, and poured six tonnes of concrete to make the bar – a focal point at many of the team’s cafes. This clubhouse spans 260 square metres; it caters for 80 people inside, 30 out front, and 25 in the sun-dappled courtyard.
“It’s quite a different sort of arrangement for us: taking control of the whole thing from design and build,” Moussi says. “There was a lot of blood, sweat and tears involved.”
Moussi’s own Inglewood Coffee Roasters supplies the coffee, and Campbell’s menu plays the usual hits such as panna cotta, hotcakes and smashed avo. There are a few diversions, though.
Moussi’s mum’s lamb kofta makes an appearance, with naan bread, beetroot hummus, sumac labneh, spiced chickpeas, cherry tomatoes and watercress. There’s also burrata, savoury granola, mint, basil and tomatoes on sourdough. And “maple crunch” porridge with cherry labneh, plums, pistachios and puffed brown rice.
It wouldn’t be a true Clubhouse without a few drinks. The 19th is an aptly named mix of spiced rum, butterscotch schnapps, espresso and filter coffee. The Hole In One features gin, elderflower, lemon juice and sparkling wine. The Clubhouse Bloody Mary is a great boozy brunch accompaniment.
Clubhouse is Moussi’s 12th cafe. Number 13, Stanley, also recently opened its doors in Mount Waverly in May. “That will be a big local cafe as well,” he says.
1290–1292 Malvern Road, Malvern
(03) 9822 8268
Mon to Fri 7am–4pm
Sun to Sun 7.30am–4pm