Whole experience (cafe + coffee): 32/40
It’s both easy and hard to miss Stop Valve on Riley Street in Darlinghurst (near William Street). Easy because it’s not where you’d expect to find an excellent café, in the utility room of a inner-city car park. Hard because there is a giant graffiti style mural on the side of the wall, which, like the yellow brick road in Alice and Wonderland, leads you right to that utility room like cafe.
Styled in an industrial grunge, it’s pretty hard not to love the space, if you’re an inner city kid at heart. The most like a Melbourne alleyway wine bar that I’ve come across as a cafe, grab a seat on the footpath (heaters and retractable roof for cold wet days) and people watch away.
Nerd 2 and I go to this café as one of our weekday rotation of local places. While they are certainly friendly to regulars, the cheery staff make all visitors feel very welcome.
The coffee came to us pretty quickly, which always leaves a punter happy.
Standard coffees are made off the one roast, from Reformatory, but if your feeling more adventurous they do seem to have a good rotating single origin flowing.
I found the coffee to be quite sweet (like a stone fruit), with some spiciness to the flavour. I enjoyed the acidity of the drink and can see how and why it works so well with both drinks with and without milk to them.
Overall, it’s a café is a winner in an already highly competitive Stanley Street precinct. The staff are highly welcoming and accommodating in a small space, the café unique (great for the instagrams), coffee options right up there with some of the best in the area and the unmentioned, the food … who does not love Fried Chicken Waffles…
1. Coffee score
Style (look and feel): 8/10
Experience (taste and smell): 8/10
Coffee total: 16/20
2. Cafe score
Whole experience (coffee + cafe): 32/40