There’s a good vibe at Coffee Chakra. It’s a small, family-friendly café on the main road in Myrtleford serving good coffee and tasty, healthy food. Husband-and-wife team Vivek and Leonie Sharma moved to Myrtleford from Brunswick East in 2010. ‘We loved the sense of community in Myrtleford and wanted to open a café for the locals,’ says Vivek. ‘The irony is now we have people coming from Albury.’
Vivek, a self-taught coffee roaster, plies his craft in small batches at the back of the café. He does a good job. His Dark Lover coffee, for example, is aromatic with hints of chocolate and a clean finish. Used in a café latte it takes on notes of caramel. The espresso is served with a little shot of sparkling mineral water in a tiny glass carafe to cleanse the palate. Vivek also makes his own blend of chai with cinnamon, fennel, cardamom and cloves. ‘It’s a blend from where I come from in northern India,’ he says.
While the menu is packed with great dishes such as the breakfast favourite of poached eggs, avocado, mint, quinoa, feta and honey grain toast, it’s the curry that sets this café apart. On any day there is a choice of either a meat or vegetarian curry. It could be the wonderfully spiced moong dahl served in a handmade ceramic bowl with a separate bowl of rice, another in which to mix the two and a small separate bowl for the cucumber and yoghurt raita all presented on a wooden board. Another popular dish, this one inspired by the days of the Raj, is kedgeree: a large serve of Harrietville smoked trout, spring peas, green chilli, boiled egg and red rice, known for its dense nutrition and low GI.
The café itself is a cosy little shopfront and easily spotted: just look out for the colourful mural of Ganesh, the elephant-headed Hindu god, holding a café latte in one of his six hands. Inside there are tables and chairs and benches looking out onto the bustling streetlife.
Another good reason to try Coffee Chakra is the cakes. Former Melbourne-based sous chef Leonie is an avid and rather excellent baker. There is often a rich moist chocolate and beetroot cake, a flourless orange cake or perhaps a chocolate hazelnut meringue, sitting in the cabinet. Her raw chocolate and goji berry slice goes exceptionally well with Vivek’s espresso. The two were meant for each other.
105 Myrtle Street (Great Alpine Road), Myrtleford
Tel 03 5752 1133