Journal Canteen Melbourne CBD Review

FeaturedMelbourne journal cafe

journal canteen melbourneBest for: Early mornings, solo coffee lovers, weekday brunch, sitting in, work friendly space 

I can’t believe that I’ve been in Melbourne for almost six weeks collectively and I’ve not done a cafe feature yet- believe me it’s not for lack of coffee drinking. Melbourne is an Australian city that’s famed for its coffee: supposedly there’s not a bad cup of coffee to be had here and so far I have to agree with that. As someone who has a severe caffeine addiction, I feel right at home in Melbourne and the irony is that I’ll look for food in the reduced section of the supermarket but will always splash out for a coffee or two.

Since arriving in Melbourne, having got myself a job and being busy with christmas and New Year, indulgent coffee dates with myself and lazy mornings have been a rarity. However today I had the day off work and made it my mission to wake up early and accomplish everything I wanted to- and that primarily included going somewhere nice for morning coffee.

Journal Canteen

Today I went to Journal Cafe which is located right in the heart of the hustle and bustle of the city in one of my favourite roads,  Flinders Lane. I though this cafe would be a good one to do a bit of a feature on as it’s about as Melbournian a cafe as you can get.

journal canteen melbourne

The Decor

Journal canteen is not quite a cafe, not quite a restaurant, a description that is apt for a lot of Melbourne’s coffee shops. However unlike a lot of the eating and drinking establishments in the city centre, Journal has lots of room to sit in. It’s open plan decor means that it’s spacious, bright and best of all it’s not imposing if you’re just wanting to have a coffee by yourself.

The Menu and prices

Whether you’re just after a quick coffee, a cooked breakfast or a sit down meal, Journal’s simple but accommodating menu has something to offer for everyone. The cafe offers all of the usual options for breakfast and then a small selection of pasta dishes and roasts for lunch and dinner. The staff were really welcoming and the service was so efficient. Prices in the cafe are average for Melbourne, around $16 for mains and $5  for a coffee.

melbourne journal canteen

I didn’t have anything that fancy this morning apart from a coffee and a croissant: obligatory despite having just had breakfast. The coffee was excellent and the croissant was warm and flaky. They have a handful of newspapers on the counter ready to read. All in all it’s a nice place to start the day off in the city.

Journal Canteen, 254 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, VIC, 3000

Ice N Beans cafe Review, Caye Caulker, Belize

Ice N Beans, Caye Caulker Belize
Peanut butter smoothie at Ice N Beans, Caye Caulker Belize

Ice N Beans, Caye Caulker BelizeCaye Caulker: A tiny island, just five kilometres in length with no roads that’s situated just off the mainland in Belize, Central America, wasn’t a place that I expected to find a good coffee shop, yet Ice N Beans was just that.

Despite its undeniably Caribbean culture I was pleasantly surprised to see that when it came to eating, it wasn’t all jerk chicken and there were a surprising amount of veggie, vegan and gluten-free cafes and restaurants with Ice N Beans by far being my favourite.

With its early opening times, good coffee, gluten-free and veggie options this cafe has really tapped into what people want making it the go to place to chill on the island.

The Location

With its location right on the beachfront of Caye Caulker there couldn’t be a more idealistic setting for a coffee shop. The entire vibe of this paradise like island invites you to chill but If you really have some work to do then the little balcony area in this cafe that overlooks the ocean is the perfect place to go and be productive and if that doesn’t scream ‘life/work balance’ then I don’t know what does.

The Decor 

I don’t think anywhere on Caye Caulker could be described as fancy Ice N Beans is just another place that fits in to the chilled vibe of the island. The main building is essentially a wooden hut and this cafe is tiny inside but it has plenty of seats and benches out the front on the sand. Expect there to be a queue out the door, it’s a popular place but it’s well worth the wait.

The Menu

First and foremost Ice and Beans does great coffee. All their beans are organic and locally grown in Belize and they offer a huge range of hot, iced and blended coffee drinks. What sold it for me was the free hot donut that comes with every drink you order plus the multiple smoothie samples that I got handed while waiting in line: I had to start turning them down as there were so many.

With its early opening time at six in the morning this cafe is a must go for breakfast. They have lots of healthy options including yoghurt bowls that you can build your own by choosing the type of yoghurt, fruit and topping you want. They also do incredible yoghurt smoothies and protein shakes: The peanut butter and banana one was heavenly.

The cafe has a range of bagels on offer too: The Nutty Monkey with Nutella, banana and almonds was my favourite. Ice and beans mini donuts are also available to buy by the bag along with their iconic bubble waffles and rum balls.

The Prices

Caye Caulker is a really expensive island but Ice N Beans is one of the cheaper places with coffees costing around £2 and bagels from £3.

 

Nola Cafe Review, Hanoi, Vietnam

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Anyone that knows me will be aware that I am a huge coffee addict. I love going to cafes and taking the time to meet a friend or spend an hour by myself enjoying a coffee and slowing down. Having a coffee feels indulgent but not excessive, it adds structure to an empty day or reflection in a busy one, it picks you up, it calms you down, it’s a chance to be social or to get lost in your own thoughts and wherever you are in the world, no matter how different the place is, a coffee shop is a coffee shop and that’s a comforting thought.

I’m writing up a list of reviews on my favourite coffee shops that I’ve been to around the world for a new section on my blog so here’s the first one: a review of quirky Vietnamese Nola Cafe in Hanoi. Hope you guys enjoy reading about these cafes as much as I did visiting them.

Nola Cafe Hanoi

Nola Cafe Hanoi

Nola Cafe, Hanoi

I didn’t realise how big of a thing coffee was in Vietnam before I went but this South East Asian country is the ultimate destination for coffee lovers with no end of intriguing and alternative coffees and an endless choice of quirky cafes to drink them in.

In a city as wonderfully chaotic as Hanoi, coffee shops are the one place you can go to escape from the madness and I don’t think I found another place on my trip that was as serene and tranquil as Cafe Nola. Hiding in plain sight with an entrance through a narrow alleyway in the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter,  I would have easily missed Cafe Nola if I hadn’t been looking for it.

The Location

Nola Cafe is located at 89 Pho Ma May, Hang Buom near the Hoan Kiem lake. It’s probably best to plug the address in Google Maps as it’s tricky to find.

I’d read about this cafe in my Lonely Planet guidebook that I’d been religiously carting round the country with me so I assumed that the cafe would be full of guidebook loving travellers but I was the only person there.

The Decor

If like me, you’re partial to posting a few Instagram’s then the arty decor of this cafe will win you over. Undoubtedly, getting up to the actual seating area of the cafe was a bit of a workout as I had to climb a steep, narrow flight of stairs to get there but once I did it opened up into a beautiful, wild overgrown garden and outdoor seating area covered with multi coloured patterned umbrellas, little lanterns and dotted with mismatched furniture.

Despite it’s location in the centre of the city, all of the noises integral to the city like beeping motorbike horns were silenced and all I could hear were the sounds of birds chirping.  As someone on their first solo backpacking trip, this little sanctuary was just the mental escape that I needed for an hour or two from the fast paced city.

The Menu

Cafe Nola offers food as well as drinks on its menu however it caters for tourists and food prices are higher than you’d pay in most restaurants and the food is less authentic so I’d recommend coming here just for coffee. Its drink selection is very westernised serving all the usual coffees that I’d have at home like a Flat White, Long black and cappuccino’s as well as smoothies and cocktails. I went for a black coffee and an iced sweet jasmine tea.

I preferred traditional Vietnamese coffees: they’re much more interesting, (you can read more about them on my coffee guide) but this cafe is more about the aesthetics (Let’s be honest, a cafe tucked up and alleyway with colourful umbrellas as a ceiling is always going to be aimed at photo seeking travellers, right?)

The Prices

Prices are high by Vietnamese standards but low in comparison to the UK with coffees averaging £2 and food around £3-£4 a dish.