Barista Matthew Tuck.
Roy Merrington and Matthew Tuck have come full circle. The pair met while working at Luxe in St Kilda (now the space occupied by Mr Wolf) and came together again at Orange in Prahran. But now they’re back, just around the corner, serving up their own particular brand of conviviality.
The pair named the café Dr Jekyll “because we’re on the corner of Clyde Street and we thought about Dr Jekyll and Mr Clyde; the name just stuck in our heads”, says Tuck. “It was time for us both to make a move, and we saw the ‘for sale’ sign on this place and took three or four serious looks at it. We feel this street is on its way up.”
Merrington’s restaurant background and Tuck’s bar and café experience combine well here, and their obvious enjoyment in their year-old business is infectious. They walked into an empty space and have deliberately adopted a minimalist approach to the décor “to allow the café to build a personality as it grows”. It’s already done that. They moved into the space next door a couple of months ago and there are plans afoot for a Mr Hyde.
Matthew Tuck’s coffee background includes stints at Café Racer in St Kilda and Federal Coffee Palace in the city, and he spent four-plus years at Orange.
“We could go down the single-origin coffee route like lots of places in Melbourne,” he says. “But we’ve decided to stick to the Espresso Syndicate blend and our customers are happy with it.”
Tuck is overflowing with praise for the coffee brand’s owner Melissa Floreani (ex-Gravity) and inspired by her focus on organic, sustainable coffee. The change of lifestyle, from working long hours and late nights to more flexible hours and independence, was motivated by a desire to spend more time with his young family.
Dr Jekyll, 107 Grey Street, St Kilda
Phone \ 9525 5999
Barista \ Matthew Tuck
Coffee \ Espresso Syndicate
Barista’s choice \ Double espresso
Opening hours \ Monday-Friday 7am-4pm; Saturday-Sunday 8am-4pm
Web \ www.drjekyll.com.au
White walls, well-worn dark floorboards and dark tables are lifted by a cherry-red banquette lining the rear wall and a huge matching pottery vase holding a dramatic flower arrangement in this brightly lit inner-urban café. The doors are painted gloss black, but there’s little other visual stimulation. Market umbrellas over a broad outdoor deck attract the bulk of the crowd, but smaller tables and a bar overlooking the street are well used, too. The espresso machine at the open coffee bar is kept firing. The carefully extracted coffee is satisfying: a double ristretto offers bright notes of citrus and a minty afterbite, and there’s a pleasant, savoury taste that suggests toasty brown rice.
A flat white features more of the savouriness, sweetened nicely by the milk.