Seven Seeds is one of Melbourne’s most enduring coffee institutions from one of coffee’s most respected figures. But a food destination it isn’t – or at least it hasn’t been. The arrival of Adam Del Mastro promises to change all that.

After steering Auction Rooms into the upper echelons of Melbourne’s cafe hierarchy, Del Mastro was drafted to help owners Mark Dundon and Bridget Amor retool the Carlton coffee temple.

The first change to the warehouse space was subtle but effective, removing a wall in the central atrium and relocating the specialty coffee station to prime position. “With the brew bar tucked away, you could have been forgiven for not noticing it,” says Del Mastro. “Now it’s front and centre by the machine. Heads turn when it’s in action.”

In a sneaky move, he’s also abandoned the drinks list as a way to get staff and customers talking beans (and leaves). “Customers quite literally look around the room to see what we’ve got on today and that’s a key to start talking about coffee with people,” he says.

Perhaps more importantly, Del Mastro has been charged with making Seven Seeds’ food worthy of their impeccable coffee. New head chef Jay Van Rhee (formerly of De Clieu) will head the assault, with support from sous chef Damien Wearne (ex-Melbourne Supper Club) and Toby Quin (of Auction Rooms).

On the new menu are items like an outstanding black sausage and daily baked egg specials. “The food in Melbourne cafes now is leading the direction for food in restaurants,” says Del Mastro, though he’s determined to keep prices low. “I think the $20 price point is something of a ceiling. If Cumulus isn’t charging over $20 for anything, no-one else is allowed to.”

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Despite a renewed focus on food, Del Mastro concedes that Seven Seeds will always be about the coffee. “Seven Seeds is always going to hang its hat on its coffee menu,” he says. “It’s like a wine bar. We have a beautiful coffee menu and a lovely complementary food menu.”

Seven Seeds
114 Berkeley Street, Carlton
(03) 9347 8664

Mon to Sat 7am–5pm
Sun 8am–4pm