A new cafe has just opened up near our house, and it's called El Joyero. Located just south of the High/Plenty intersection in Thornbury, kinda over the road and down a bit from South Preston Safeway. As someone forced to move away from the inner North by the great rental price soar of 2007, I am always excited when I find another gem surface along the ever northern creeping trail of High Street beauties (not that I'd rather live anywhere else now..!).
Ollie and Christina have done a great job with the conversion at El Joyero. Apparently the place used to be a jewellers (as a quick google search will verify), and they've kept some of the best bits of the furnishings. Beautifully decorated with everything indie nerds love (70's kitsch art, random music memorabilia, old toys etc etc) the atmosphere is gorgeously welcoming and cosy.
While the food menu is basic (but still tasty), the coffee is what wins here. El Joyero brews St. Ali coffee, a label of roasters with passion matched perhaps only by Alchemists.
So far I've had three flat whites and a long black here, and all have been really yummy. I thought at first the flat whites were a little on the weak side, but I'm thinking now that it's actually the flavour of the coffee, a bit more subtle and round.
They've also got a fantastic little collection of records, CD's and books for sale, much of them from bands and artists who've recently performed there (I just saw my first 5" record.. never knew there was such a thing!), as well as home made stuff (a notebook from a Bonsoy carton? Awesome!). I've also been eyeing off the copy of The Picture of Dorian Gray. Yeah, so it's a decent little selection of stuff.
They also host Sunday afternoon shows, film nights, art exhibitions etc (none of which I've been to yet), which seem to be that really lovely grass-roots community backyard vibe. (Have a look at the Myspace for more info).
Another little thing I love about the springing up of these super-cool little cafes, is how they're often placed in areas which are still very much populated by a high proportion of an older demographic, most of whom don't think "oh I won't go into that cafe, that's way too hipster for me..". On the contrary, they head in, and make the most of the fact that they can now get a decently extracted coffee in Preston. Which means you then get this beautiful juxtaposition of this cute, trendy little cafe full of nostalgia and indie collectibles, and people who remember when this shit was cool the first time round (before most of us were even born. While I was there today, a little old man came in and ordered an iced-coffee (he no doubt saw the sign out the front, which I can imagine was there to take advantage of the recent heatwave), and a little pink cupcake. So there was this 75 year old drinking an iced-coffee from a straw out of one of those old aluminium cups we all grew up with, and a cute little pink iced cupcake. Next to a Bob Dylan poster, and a guy who looked like one of the guys from Architecture in Helsinki. Gorgeous.
Go check it out.
923 High St, Thornbury VIC 3071 - (03) 9480 4070
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