Setting the pace on the Belmont shoreline

Warm atmosphere: Common Circus at Belmont staff members Rebekah Neale and Katherine Owen. Picture: Jonathan Carroll.
Warm atmosphere: Common Circus at Belmont staff members Rebekah Neale and Katherine Owen. Picture: Jonathan Carroll.

Common Circus, 36 Brooks Parade, Belmont, Saturday 7-4, Sunday 8-3, Monday-Friday 6:30am-4pm, 

The founder of the Common Circus Lauren Henry is better than most at keeping her ingredients simple.

A view over the lake from a well-weathered cottage in Belmont. A homely menu of rustic breakfast classics. Batch brewed coffee. A wire basket of freshly baked bread loaves. Beside the cake cabinet at the front counter two slices of butcher’s paper lists the entire menu. Teas. Espressos. Toasts. Just the simple things. Prepared, poured and served without an ounce of attitude or fanciness.

Even the granola muesli has been named after a farmer. After mine arrives I quickly realise why this breakfast has almost become as famous as the view that accompanies it. Apart from being a delicious mess of honey, grains and yoghurt and a generous helping for only $9.50, it feels like it has been especially made to satisfy and revitalise. It is a clean and healthy feeling that not even a glazed raspberry danish can interfere with.

From the cold pressed juice to the lemon and avocado sourdough, everything at the Common Circus looks and tastes uncommonly fresh and wholesome.

It comes as no surprise that Lauren has a straightfoward answer for all of this. “Quality” she tells me, “is basically behind all of the things that we do here”. For a café owner with a background in fashion and design, this has meant furnishing her café with an eclectic, beachy-meets-bohemian exhibition of accessories.

Lauren and her hospitable baristas use a nicely-balanced house blend (The Goods) roasted by GLEE and complement their milk-based coffees with a fuller-bodied Brazilian single origin.

“Of course I am into my coffee, but homewares is actually my first love” Lauren confesses. “Retailing homewares in my café meant that I could have the vibe that coffee attracts without the pressure to hurry that sometimes comes along with it.”

Aside from her assortments and the laid-back atmosphere that browsing them creates, a large part of the Common Circus vibe can still be attributed to the selection of coffees. Lauren and her hospitable baristas use a nicely-balanced house blend (The Goods) roasted by GLEE and complement their milk-based coffees with a fuller-bodied Brazilian single origin (by GLEE) for their long blacks and espressos.

 Lauren also batch brews another single origin from GLEE that changes every six or so months to take the fullest advantage of seasonal variations.

As a less intensely flavoured filtered coffee that can be served hot or cold, Lauren has joined a number of her locals in developing a preference for the batch brew.

“It is great as a second coffee and is perfectly suited for the afternoons”, she says.