4-16 Hall St, Moonee Ponds
Owners: Sam and Rosalyn Manno
Hours: Mon-Fri, 8am-4pm; Sat, 9am-3pm
Well, I feel the need to explain why I’ve delayed in writing about somewhere in the area I live. Growing up in the hardcore Western suburbs, I was surrounded by the Australian dream, 70’s style. Isolated from culture physically and metaphorically it was an existance that centered around riding to the milkbar with 20cents to buy a Sunnyboy and “mixed lollies” and waiting endlessly for the bus, the only means of transport in and out of the place.
As soon as I finished school and started attending Prahran Tafe then VCA, I knew the West and I no longer saw eye to eye and I promptly moved into what was the first in a long line of share houses in the suburbs of Kensington & Brunswick.
Anyway, I digress. The reason I paint this picture is because I now live slightly North of the West, still close to the city but until now a wasteland of bad coffee and toasted cheese and tomato foccacia’s (my apologies, my husband still enjoys a toasted focaccia!). So it was with a bit of trepidation that I entered Nabiha. I had been reading about them in The Age and was not really sure somewhere in the heart of the “The Ponds” as us locals call it, would be as good as the hype. I needn’t have worried, this is most definitely the suburbs best coffee if not some of the best coffee in Melbourne. It is their own blend from 5 senses and to me it has a chocolatey after taste and is very smooth on the palate. Ok, I’m no coffee expert, I don’t go to cuppings and I don’t now much about single origin beans etc, what I do know is that I like this coffee very much and more than that it is consistent. Every time is has the same taste, amount of cafe crema and temperature.
I ordered the tomato pizza for the kids, which was devoured. It was simple, fresh tomato and basil and lots of cheese, and my eldest loved it. I had the spiced lamb, rocket and sumac pizza with labne on the side. It was a nice crunchy turkish bread like base and the lamb was really nicely seasoned and worked well with the peppery rocket. This would be a great little take-away number with a coffee if you worked near by. I love this simple kind of food full of flavour, and considering Nabiha has hardly even got a kitchen it was pretty impressive.
You could easily share one of the pizza’s between a couple of people, a little too much for just one, unless you are super hungry. The service is very friendly and attentive and the space is super slim but feels light inside. The only thing I would have liked is a biscuit or cupcake in the glass cabinet, there is a selection of pastries, but I can easily satisfy a young person with a gingerbread.
Nabiha is a stand out in the area and the coffee is bang on. Living in burbs ain’t so bad after all.