Enter Drugstore Espresso and the first thing you’ll notice its wall-to-wall bagged up coffee (Rosso) and tea (SerendipiTea) plus the museum to their cold drip apparatus. Their Synesso espresso machine is on overdrive as passersby roll in and out of the split-level space, punctuated by a striking arachnid-shaped light sculpture.
As is the way these days, Melbourne coffeehouses are taking more pride in their caffeine distribution and Drugstore is no different. Here, exclusive estate single origins such as Ethiopian Sidamo and Tanzanian Nacronas Blue complement the Kenyan or Guatemalan ristretto mixes that revolve daily.
Taking on a 1920s American drugstore look, this new venture is carefully littered with various seating arrangements. Sit either out the front and face the open doors of the establishment, or upstairs at a share table that comfortably seats 10 or 15 backsides.
Phrenology by L.N. Fowler craniums is placed next to ancient medical kits, as a mural of entertainment icons Frank, Bing and co enjoying a tipple is spread across one of the feature walls, serving to further reassure us of Drugstore Espresso’s almost artistic vision for the place.
On the food front, expect good eggs and of course a New York bagel for breakfast. For lunch, there are upmarket sandwiches and salads, with the with roast beef, hot English mustard, cheese and tomato piadina and the roast pork with apple sauce and crackling being the hits.
For more fulfilling meals, they serve the ubiquitous open wagyu sanga, yet thankfully, the spiced shredded duck with a pickled beetroot, green bean and orange zest salad takes it up a grade. As does the local squid stuffed with the underutilised freekeh, green olives, preserved lemon and oregano.
Resting with arms wide open between the old Falafel House and even more ominous Milan Beauty & Nails for that oh-so randomly Toorak-meets-South Yarra touch, Drugstore is well worth the visit.
194 Toorak Road, South Yarra
(03) 9827 5058