Stop Valve Espresso & Bar
Although hidden in an abandoned car-park storage unit on Riley Street, the exterior of Stop Valve Espresso & Bar is far from subtle. Mongolian-born street artist Heesco has painted a Shaun Tan-inspired spirit creature on the outside wall. With octopus legs and balloons escaping from its spout, the valves of the mural creature wrap around the corner wall and continue as a design feature inside the espresso and bar.
The space is tight but comfortable. Exposed red pipes and industrial, low-hanging bulbs brighten the reinforced concrete ceilings. A small side bar is set against a black caged wall, the open grid looking onto the building’s feature red stop valve. The service area is minimal and open; regulars are greeted by name as they come in for their Reformatory Caffeine coffee, available in cold drip, espresso, filter, V60 or Aeropress. Teas are by Totaler, there’s Prana Chai and the orange juice is freshly squeezed.
The breakfast and lunch menu, like chef Dave Ferreira (previously of Rupert and Ruby), is a fusion of Canadian indulgence and Portuguese tradition. Fried chicken and waffles are a Saturday special. Menu staples include slow-cooked pulled pork, Croque Monsieur and jalapeno poppers.
Come midday the space is licensed, offering local beers on tap and a changing selection of bottles and cider. Rare boutique Australian and New Zealand wine, as well as Billecart-Salmon Champagnes make up the wine list courtesy of sommelier Dean Worland. Late-night hours from Thursday to Saturday are accompanied by specials, such as sirloin steak tartare and a weekly seasonal seafood dish.
Stay tuned for Stop Valve’s private sit-down dinners to be hosted on the bottom level of the car park.