Being fifty-something, I recall many a time when I’ve ushered one or both offspring to a new experience. It seems the tables have turned and now I’m riding their coat-tails to new and intriguing events and things.
Yesterday, thanks to My Girl, we got a sneak peek at a new café opening in our neck of the woods.
What a treat! I blithely predict that, before long, King of the Castle Café will be a force to be reckoned with.
Its location is perfect, way down the west end of Pakington Street, far from the madding crowd and smack bang amidst businesses starved of a local coffee haunt. Which also happens to be about where the parking gets easy on this busy through-road.
King of the Castle is worth finding. Don’t expect gaudy signs pointing the way; this gem exudes a Melbourne-style, up-the-alley-way aesthetic where you have to be “in the know” to find it.
Makes being in the know all the more worthwhile.
Again, like some of Melbourne’s best coffee houses, King of the Castle is pocket–sized. A nano café, if you will. Bigger than a coffee van (just) but smaller than your lounge room. There’ s a tiny waiting room with white-washed walls graced with superb hand-drawn artwork by Sasha Heath of hellotomato.
The vibe spills out into the alley way (OK … it’s more a driveway than an alley) where teal cushions top milk crates for casual seating.
Fear not. Size is no compromise here. It’s all about the coffee: that means stonking good brews.
Behind the sparkly new coffee machine is Robbie Lecchino, your barista extraordinaire, local lad and self-professed King of the Castle. Why not? Over the years Robbie has sharpened (to a diamond tip) his barista and customer service skills at eateries in Geelong, Melbourne and tropical north Queensland.
Robbie reigns over the coffee machine with the cool composure of a royal, decreeing a perfect brew experience, every single time. Padre Coffee (made in Brunswick) is his coffee of choice and it’s served up with an unrelenting king-sized smile. This guy was born to preside over a coffee empire.
On the countertop, temptingly trapped beneath glass domes, is a selection of treats baked lovingly by Robbie’s co-tenants, Marcus and Caroline of Gracious and Delicious. Already famous around town for their French-style canelés, Gracious and Delicious will be keeping King of the Castle topped up with savoury muffins, two-bite lemon tarts and friands, canelés (of course) and more.
The scoop (shhhhh!) is that Gracious and Delicious will soon be offering their canelés (which up until now have only been available wholesale and at local markets), along with a range of imported treats (think: duck products) direct to the public from their French-inspired bakery at the front of the building (that’s a Pako St shopfront, before you head down the alley). Soon, you’ll be able to get a foodie fix and a caffeine fix at the one exclusive stop. Expect to hear more about that over the coming weeks.
The coffee at King of the Castle is superb, but my favourite thing of all has to be the streetart created by My Girl on the alley-way wall. Her king-sized jungle-in-my-head skull (WIP) is a stand-out place-maker for this café with its street-savvy sensibility and hole-in-the-wall genre. Proud mama. There, I’ve said it again. Find her arty self on Instagram @myheadsajungle
So, if you’re not in the know (like I am) [insert wink], look for My Girl’s funky skullart on the dark grey wall and you’ll be getting warm.
Or punch the address into your GPS:
King of the Castle Café
14 24 Pakington St, Geelong West
Open 7am – 3.30pm Mon-Fri & 8am – 2pm Sat
Long live the King.
***UPDATE: As of 19 May, Robbie has reinvented King of the Castle Cafe at new premises at 24 Pakington Street, Geelong West (just a few doors from the original nook). More room, more seating, same amazing brews.