Sonam Sherpa is arguably one of the biggest names in Melbourne’s cafe scene right now. His latest project, Phase One, is already living up to its owner’s reputation, serving specialty coffee and delicious bagels from the heart of Brunswick.
The newly opened cafe is the permanent extension of 2014 Fitzroy pop-up, Place Holder. A collaborative project by Sonam and Sam King (Kettle Black), Place Holder was incredibly well received, serving over 300 customers every day in its short life.
After this project came to an end, Sonam went on to establish Collingwood hot spot Shopfront and later, Mooroolbark cafe Manna Lane. Now he turns his focus to Phase One, located in what will become Brunswick’s New Urban Village. This exciting space, located next to Jewell Station, will eventually feature bike paths, arts and events spaces, parks, designer apartments and retail and meditation zones.
Finding a home in a refurbished warehouse, the light and industrial style cafe is set to be a highlight of the village. A team of four, led by Sonam and Tyla Bryden, are focused on providing exceptional food and drink to locals and visitors.
“We wanted Phase One to be a casual garden party with awesome coffee, spot on bagels and some light refreshments; a playful and cheeky area for residents and visitors to enjoy coming to,” said Sonam.
The bagels match the overall innovative concept of the space. Coming fresh from 5 & Dime, the boiled breads are topped with combinations like Matchless Goods peanut butter, banana and local honey.Other options include a poppy seed bagel generously
Other options include a poppy seed bagel generously lathered with cream cheese, smoked salmon, wild onion, capers and edible flowers, and the Bagel S’more, with chocolate and melted marshmallow. These delectable bites can be washed down with one of Phase One’s exciting milkshake and soda creations – think spiced rhubarb and strawberry milkshakes.
All the food and drink is created using fresh produce from local makers and growers. The coffee is supplied by Melbourne roasters Wood & Co, who also supply the caffeine for Shopfront and Manna Lane. If you’re lucky, your coffee may even be prepared on the shiny La Marzocco coffee machine by Sonam himself.
While you wait, take a seat outside in the urban garden. Formerly a vacant and unused area, this space has been reincarnated as an oasis for soaking up the sunshine and enjoying the fresh air.
Sonam hopes that once Phase One is established properly, the courtyard can also become a space for local gatherings and events.
“We’ll be taking a hands-on role with events so the courtyard space is utilised by dynamic and interesting activities such as coffee brew workshops. The opportunities of what can be held there is only limited to your imagination.
There’s space to practice yoga, play basketball or hold markets and gardening workshops,” he said.
Sonam and his talented team have transformed an otherwise unexciting space into a destination for good food, good coffee and a good time. The first in a series of developments that will become Brunswick’s New Urban Village, Phase One is certainly worth checking out.
Words by Ashleigh Whitehill | Cat lover. Tea enthusiast. Twitter