It’s hard to imagine walking through Melbourne without hearing the ‘click click’ of an espresso machine on a fresh dose, or the dull thud as the barista taps the metallic filter on the linoleum coffee bench. Those are sounds that slip into our subconscious. Suffice to say, there is no shortage of cafes in the CBD, but luckily for The Old Chamber, it seems Melburnians just can’t get enough.
For Ibrahim Houli, owner of Melbourne’s latest CBD start-up, coffee comes easily. After cutting his teeth at Pod in Melbourne’s south, Houli and head chef Robert Princi (previously co-head chef at Prahran’s Jacques Reymond) decided to move their skill set to a more central location.
Housed inside the old Bank of New Zealand Building on the corner of Collins and Queen Streets, The Old Chamber’s façade and most of the internal structure has remained faithful to the original building, thanks to Katherine Kemp from Zwei Architects (Little Bean Blue) who encouraged Houli to keep with the building’s character. The interior is spacious, with restored polished timber and bright skirtings.
They offer up typically good Melbourne coffee with a tasty, mostly handmade menu. The sandwich selection is solid, combining old favourites with more clever creations like the smoked ocean trout sandwich. There is a list of hearty soup specials for the lunchtime suits, who tuck in their ties and clean up the bowls with a side of fresh bread.
The cost is refreshingly modest for the location and quality.
The Old Chamber
395 Collins St, Melbourne
Mon to Fri 7am–4.30pm