Last week we were invited to visit Sideshow, Prahran’s newest coffee shop. Now I know what you’re thinking, “does Prahran/Chapel Street really need another cafe?” But sideshow is a real gem. It’s not a cafe as such, it’s just coffee and bakery items. So there’s no fighting with the brunch crowd when you just want your morning caffeine hit. It’s loud and funky with lively background music so it has more of a ‘cool catch up’ than ‘business meeting’ vibe and is the ideal stop for that take away coffee, or something to get you over that afternoon slump. It’s open from 7am weekdays or 8am at weekends.
The coffee comes from Brunswick’s Code Black coffee roasters. Now Code Black is one of the first coffees I ever tried in Melbourne and it’s remains firm favourite for me. I like how it’s fairly strong without being bitter. Alongside this they also offer Prana Chai, Tumeric latte’s from Golden Grind and Konomi, loose leaf tea from The Tea Drop and Assembly and Koko Deluxe hot chocolate. Honestly, this place is like the Paris end of Collins Street there’s so many great brands!
We also sampled some of their gorgeous cakes. I had a delicious banoffee scroll (made by Oregano bakery – here come those brand names again). The scrolls at Sideshow are smaller than those that you used to be able to buy from Melbourne Central, and to me they are a better size. Laced with caramel on the inside, they are the ultimate sweet treat, and this smaller size makes it much less overwhelming. We also tried a Butterbing salted caramel cookie. MB particularly liked how the caramel flavour came through and how soft the cookie itself was, with the taste and texture being much lighter than you would imagine. These are well worth a try. He also sampled a muffin, from The Mill and Bakery – their range of pastries offer something more classic if you are feeling less than adventurous. As with the hot drinks, their baked goods are a bit of a who’s who of some of Melbourne’s best known brands, Nine Bakery also provide vegan slices. The flavours and brands are subject to change, but while your options might be different each day Sideshow seem keen to ensure that every single baked item comes from a name renowned for top quality.
The unit itself is fairly small but has around 8 small tables which could probably seat up to 4 people each at a push. The service was great and we loved the little extras like the offer or sparkling water, and the cute copper cutlery. It’s just the perfect addition to this area or Melbourne, and there is no one else offering just coffee and doing it at this quality. You can usually find good coffee or delicious cakes, but Sideshow has both in the same place.
Sideshow ticks a lot of boxes and for me, fills a real gap in the market around this area. It’s somewhere I can see myself visiting again and again, particular as they have Oregano scrolls – something I wandered around the CBD trying to find for about an hour one day – and Code Black Coffee – in case you didn’t know it’s my favourite – in the same place. While it might be small in size, it’s big on quality, and there’s a lot of thought gone into choosing excellent brands to stock the cafe with, which goes a long way in my opinion. Thanks for having us!