Dukes Coffee Roasters


169 Chapel Street, Windsor, 3181—View map


9521 4884 wholesale@dukescoffee.com.au




Breakfast Mon-Sun 7am-4pm


EFTPOS, Visa, Mastercard


Soy, Gluten free


Inside and outside


Get a baby sitter



Streets ahead

Helen Alexander 19 July 2013

A loyal Londoner since birth I moved to Melbourne two years ago and, despite being excited at the prospect of making a life for myself in Australia, I always knew this unknown city was going to have to work hard to win me over. Having waved goodbye to friends, family and significant landmarks, I embraced my pending adventure with a healthy dose of suspicion and, that most British of traits, pessimism. After all, one wouldn’t want to get their hopes up only to be disappointed. And yet, just 48 hours after boarding the plane and fleeing rain-saturated Heathrow, I knew I had made a good decision. Did this realisation strike while sitting on some sun-kissed beach? Was I gazing at the twinkling city skyline from Princess Bridge? No, I was sipping a skinny latte in Dukes, while staring out at the to and fro of Chapel Street shoppers.

Before I continue, when I say I was loyal to London, I mean loyal like a dog is loyal to its master – even if that master might occasionally administer a swift kick to its behind. Sure there were great times: strolling along the South Bank at dusk; carefree days getting lost in Soho’s maze of quirky streets; and exploring South Kensington’s myriad museums at the weekends. However, living and working in London isn’t all fun in the persistent drizzle. The city is a fickle master – prone to tube strikes, grumpy commuters and the odd, very inconvenient, riot. If you want the highs, you have to put up with the lows. It’s a simple philosophy but, once you accept it, it makes mornings spent teetering on the edge of Liverpool Street platform watching packed train after packed train pass by a little easier to handle.

Armed with this deeply entrenched punishment-reward mentality, I landed in Melbourne and made my way to St Kilda. That is when I stumbled into Dukes. Too jet-lagged to focus on the menu and not entirely sure as to what a flat white might consist of, a waitress came to my rescue and patiently managed to extract an order from me. Having scribbled my slurred requests on her pad, she looked up, gave me a huge smile and simply said: “Too easy!” It was an epiphany. Perhaps life didn’t have to be half enjoyable, half endurance test. Perhaps it could just be easy. And not just plain easy, but too easy. And that’s how Dukes helped me switch my allegiances.

Now a loyal Melbournian, Dukes is a place I keep returning to. Perhaps its understated simplicity suits my English sensibilities – dark wood, exposed red bricks, terrazzo floor – or maybe it is the quiet achiever at the back of the room that never fails to impress – a huge Joper roaster that fills the place (and the surrounding area) with the gorgeous scent of freshly roasted beans.

My dish of choice? Avocado hummus toast, poached eggs, honey candied bacon and dukkah. That’s right, as if hearty chunks of bacon weren’t good enough already, the chefs at Dukes take the reward one step further by marinating them in honey – making for a deliciously sweet and savoury concoction. And, when I am not feeling so grown-up, Nutella on sourdough toast offers a far ‘too easy’ regression into childhood. No one judges me (even when I have chocolate smeared all over my face) and I don’t have to finish my greens first. It’s as life should be – enjoyable and with no hint of endurance.

Ok, so there is one small downside. This Windsor stalwart gets pretty busy every day of the week – particularly during rush hour – and bagging a seat can take a little while. Crammed into a corner of the cafe, with standing room only and the noise (and frustration) level rising, it almost feels like being back on the tube. Relying on my newfound Australian-style optimism, I can enjoy this brief reminder of home, safe in the knowledge that the final destination is well worth the wait.




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