Workshop Bros

Words by Ellen Weigall
Photography by Tessa Ross-Phelan

Brothers Nolan and Brian Taing and business partner Joe La already operate three successful Workshop Bros cafes in Glen Huntly and two in Melbourne’s CBD, however their newest venture, Workshop Brothers Glen Waverley, takes the brand to a new level.

Unlike the other Workshop locations, the Glen Waverley project will be open for breakfast, lunch & dinner, and will look and feel quite different to the others.

Guests will experience a classic Western menu with Asian twists and turns. The Workshop Bros menu is not defined by a specific Asian region and the kitchen is happy to play with many styles of cooking.

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For breakfast you’ll will find dishes such as the decadent Sweet Hong Kong Waffle or Egg Congee with Pork Belly and Chinese Doughnut, or you can choose the classic Eggs Benny or Acai Bowl.

For lunch, choose Balinese Pork or Thit Kho but perhaps you’d prefer Grilled Barramundi or a Kimchi and Prawn Risotto. And for dinner, Betel Leaf Scallops or Bro Bao Buns might take your fancy, or stick with the classic Lamb Shank Curry or Spring Chicken.

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Interiors were designed by Studio Esteta. The palette is light and bright but maintains a level of sophistication to assist in the transition from day to night time dining. Pink hues are offset by plum and brass accents and the circular and cylindrical language is repeated through the furniture and joinery details to reinforce a playful and vibrant interpretation of the retro Asian restaurant.

Studio Estela Director, Sarah Cosentino, said “The design language draws upon and celebrates playful cliches of retro styled Asian restaurants. This is coupled with our own personal nostalgic memories of retro Asian restaurants, typically layered and over embellished with the theatrical use of the circle, think; lazy-susans, granite, round tables, vinyl clad chairs, plum accents and pink.’

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‘Rich in meaning and symbolism in Asian culture, the circle represents oneness, perfection and unity. This rich symbolism becomes a reoccurring theme with the introduction of a series of limed ply circular openings that divide the long narrow space into dining, bar and kitchen zones. The circular insertions allow for the space and design to unravel gradually, imbuing a sense of intrigue and discovery amongst diners,’ she said.

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The trio is an unusual combination of personalities. Brian is the perfectionist coffee and food expert who has spent his entire career in cafes. Brother Nolan is a Certified Practicing Accountant who spent seven years practicing in London before starting the business with Brian. Joe brings balance to the team via hospitality and operational experience.

All three agree the key to success has been a long journey of learning, making mistakes along the way and finally gaining the knowledge to service the tough Melbournian market.

“We like to bring a smile to places that need love rather than jump on the bandwagon in existing trendy locations,” said Brian. “Our location in Glen Huntly, and our cafe in the CBD were both locations that needed coffee with more love and attention, and we think this location in Glen Waverley is ready for something really new and exciting,” he said.

Workshop Bros Glen Waverley is located at 97 Kingsway and will open its doors in early June.