Brother Baba Budan @ 359 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne
Having opened in 2007, Brother Baba Budan is the oldest of the current array of Mark Dundon and Bridget Amor establishments – the others being Seven Seeds in Carlton and De Clieu in Fitzroy. Occupying a pokey, little shop-front on Little Bourke Street, Brother Baba Budan – also referred to as the “café with the chairs on the ceiling” or “BBB” – is a minimalist and coffee-centric institution. The tiny café barely provides standing room for 12 and offers only a rudimentary selection of cakes and pastries. That selection contrasts markedly with the wide variety of freshly roasted beans, both single origin and blended, on offer – sourced from the mother establishment, Seven Seeds.
Unlike most of the reviews on the Melbourne Culinary Journal, this post is not an account of any one particular experience at Brother Baba Budan. I have visited Brother Baba Budan innumerable times, both to purchase whole beans for domestic use and to sample their coffee – usually in espresso or ristretto form but very occasionally in clover form. While I cannot attest to the quality of their coffee being completely and absolutely unwavering – but then, no café I have ever visited meets that criterion – I can say that the average standard is very high indeed. For my tastes, Brother Baba Budan delivers some of the best coffee in Melbourne. The very knowledgeable staff – steering me away from particularly bright single origins and towards those rounded and robust varieties that are eminently suitable for the shorter form – are an added bonus.
In summary, Brother Baba Budan is a reliably excellent caffeine station, one that, if I am in the area and have a spare 10 to 15 minutes, I will always endeavour to visit. My only suggestion would be to, if possible, avoid it during peak times – just before 9am or 2pm on weekdays – in order to avoid the rush of city workers.