Thursday, December 30, 2010
Chairs hanging on the ceiling of Brother Baba Budan.
Two things Melbourne is known for: The Federation Square, an ugly building known for its...ugliness. The other is the city's coffee culture and you'll know that because coffee is the first smell that hits you at the Tullamarine Airport, when the doors open to let you out into the city. My daughter, after 7 years in Melbourne, grabs a coffee at least once a day which puts her in the casual coffee drinker category. She has recently switched to chai latte which I am not particularly fond of.
Brother Baba Budan sounded like a Nepalese smoke joint to me but it really is a place for very serious coffee lovers. BBB is small, dark, with seats for about 15. Wooden chairs hang overhead, threatening to fall on you (and one did once, I was told, but nobody was hurt). You have to sit on a stool and share a table with others, which is why when the first time Yi dragged me there, telling me that the place was designed by one of her tutors, I refused to go in. I am used to sipping coffee in an armchair and I couldn't understand how people can enjoy their coffee sitting on stools with strangers seated one hand span away. Snug, but not comfortable. The second time we went, the place wasn't as packed so we sat down to rest our tired feet. I drink coffee but I'm not a coffee connoisseur but one sip of BBB's coffee and I was completely rested and mellow, all my worries and problems forgotten. My cuppa was thick, rich, full (as against the flat, thin and sharp 'mouthfeel' of Nescafe--know what I mean?), smooth, wonderfully aromatic. Not bitter. At all. I hate bitter coffee. Years ago when Yi came back and pooh poohed Starbucks coffee, I felt she was being snotty but on this trip to Melbourne, where we drank coffee and chai latte almost every day, I understood what she meant by "Starbucks coffee isn't coffee". And of all the coffee we drank, BBB's was the best. BBB's coffee is rated 3 stars, the highest rating. Being among the best in a serious coffee city like Melbourne means the price of a cup is not cheap, with espresso being cheapest at AUD4, and specialty coffee AUD10 and up. The handsome guy next to me came in, drank a cup, then another and then got another to go. If I didn't have to multiply the Oz dollar by 3.2, I'd have gotten a cup to go too, especially since the weather was chilly out. I hear the breakfast is good too but man, I can't imagine it being better than the coffee.
BBB is located at 359, Little Bourke St, Melbourne, next door to Chinatown. You must drink a cuppa here if you visit Melbourne.