Good vibes and great coffee are never in short supply at Elsternwick’s Penta. The buzzing cafe is bringing something a little bit different to the south, offering a experience that caters to both wellness warriors and burger buffs.
Penta is one of nine ventures that Julian has opened since 2012. Having spent much of his lifetime behind a coffee machine or serving on the floor, Julien was well placed to introduce something new to Melbourne’s coffee industry. It started with Fitzroy North’s Annoying Brother and continued with Camberwell’s My Other Brother. Fast forward to 2017 and Julien has venues in a number of suburbs around Melbourne, ensuring that everyone has a chance to try what he’s dishing up.
Along the way, Julien has surrounded himself with a tightknit team that are just as passionate as he is. Stuart, Julien’s first ever employee, and Kristy-Lea join Julien to manage the day-to-day running of the venue, while Nicky looks after the food side of things.
Behind the sleek La Marzocco machine, which takes pride of place on the main counter, you will find Cory, the venue’s passionate Head Barista. He skilfully manipulates the custom house blend, Sixth Sense, to create whatever combinations customers desire. The blend features hazelnut, caramel and cocoa flavours, which combine beautifully with milk.
While Sixth Sense works well with milk-based coffee, Penta turns to MAKER Fine Coffee for single origin black coffees and alternative brews. Cold drip, batch brew and regular espresso are available at all times, but the coffee menu also features V60 from time to time, depending on the suitability of available beans.
The Penta experience isn’t complete without trying a dish from the mouth-watering menu. Nicky’s experience and flair means the entire menu changes regularly, but a standout is the Nutella panna cotta with a nut butter banana sushi, honey joy crumb, strawberries, pomegranate molasses and torched marshmallows. Come lunchtime, the nourish salad has also proven to be popular. It combines quinoa, pepitas, red cabbage, kale, kidney beans, sweet corn, carrot, cauliflower, pomegranate, alfalfa, grana padano, walnuts, sweet potato and turmeric hummus with a spiced ginger dressing.
In creating a new cafe in Elsternwick, the team of five knew they had to impress and inspire. Therefore, they collaborated with design firm, Ritz and Ghougassian, to create a sleek, concrete-centric space. More than five tonnes of concrete joinery was paired with a wall of stainless steel, leather banquettes and pops of greenery, resulting in an aesthetic that’s modern yet comfortable. The space also retains elements of the original architecture, paying homage to its heritage.
In opening Penta, Julien and his team have brought the area a new lease on life, presenting an experience that’s sure to please everyone that walks through its doors.