Following the tedious drive along the monotonous freeways of the south east, I decided to jump off at Chandler Hwy and take an old favourite haunt; Yarra Boulevard, hoping that it would be reasonably quiet at 7:30am. The twisting, undulating road is the perfect wake up after the one and a half hour drive to this point, unfortunately quiet it was not, with every cyclist and runner seemingly out and taking advantage of the lovely still morning. As I exited onto Johnston Street however it was quite the distinct difference heading west through the back streets of Collingwood and Carlton, making my way across to North Melbourne. The inner city area is a great place to be at an early hour with barely a soul insight; the familiar scent of fresh coffee hangs in the air, funneling from many an open café window, the distant chatter of other early morning risers is the only sound, save for the odd other car and the usually drowned out whistle of birds. Buildings peek out from shadows, glowing softly, lit by the golden morning light of the sun, it’s nice, calm, it feels like a small town for those few hours.
Situated in Howard St, a stones throw from the Queen Victoria Market, within a former 1918 cable tram workshop; Le Bajo is a newly established Japanese café specialising in cakes and breads such as Japanese fruit sandwiches and shokupan, which is a Japanese milk bread. Le Bajo is extremely welcoming for lovers of automotive and cyclists alike, and have relegated every Saturday morning to a small meeting of cars & coffee. But one would hazard a guess that if at any time visiting Le Bajo, you would be treated to some automotive or perhaps cycle goodness. On the particular morning I attended, Saturday just gone, there was only a handful of cars, although this was in absolutely no way a turn off. The building and café design provides a pleasant atmosphere, where you’re free to roam between the cars outside as well as the several parked within, seating is available street side, or if you’d prefer to be tucked away, the inside seating area is situated in the rear corner of the former workshop, behind a wall of indoor plants. With tantilising cakes and coffee to rival any Melbourne café, I’ll definitely be adding this to the list as regularly as I can, hence I’ve stated this to be Volume One.
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