What happens when a retired Italian butcher from Essendon meets the grandson of an English butcher? They build a café of course!
Sure, not the most obvious answer, but that’s how Wilfred Smith was created.
The site of the café is a renovated butcher shop on a hill, a solitary store amongst suburban houses. The owner has leased the premises to Matt, a long-standing member of the restaurant world in his first venture into café-dom.
It seems fit then to name a previous butcher shop after another butcher; Matt’s grandfather Wilfred Smith. Fate sealed the deal.
One of the first things you’ll notice as you walk into Form is the light – both the branch light fitting hanging from the ceiling, and also the brightness that surrounds you. The stark white walls, white brick and minimal fittings contribute to a breezy feel about the place. There is some city edge with the hole-in-the-wall coffee bar and large front windows, all reflecting some serious planning and I’m told, the result of battles won.
The clean walls are the result of the hard physical work of Rob, adding painting to his 25-year barista career. Jason has insisted there is much more work to be done, but to the common eye, the fresh appeal is already achieved. Both Jason and Rob herald from the old-school Brunswick café scene, with Form being the collaboration of their extensive experience or as Jason puts it; “putting our money where our mouth is.” The menu is broad for such a small kitchen but there is a sense of a learnt craft here; professionalism and efficiency earned from time in the industry.
Alongside your table, you’re likely to hear the tapping of keys and the low, articulate language of business. The space is a perfect hub for work and for lucky few that get to email outside of partitions, the light and calm can get you through 3 cups of coffee and The Age without even realizing.
Where: 32 Albion St, Essendon 3040
When to go: Breakfast and lunch, all week
What to order: Sardines on toast – finally the glorification of real home food!