Geelong is home to the town’s beloved Cats football club, and Pakington Pantry. Owners Anne-Maree Dulic and husband and Chef Matthew started the café in November 2013, and the locals have been quick to make the venue a regular pit-stop.
“Every chef’s dream is to open their own venue. Matt has more than 15 years experience as a chef, and we decided the timing was right to open our own place,” says Anne-Maree.
Ironically, the couple grew up in Geelong before moving to the big smoke to pursue work. But as luck would have it, the ideal space came up for sale back in their grassroots town. “Geelong’s coffee scene has developed into a boutique coffee space. It has its own taste of Melbourne culture with cafés now opening in hidden streets and laneways,” says Anne-Maree. “Our aim has been to bring the Melbourne flavour to Geelong, and we’re already getting comments on how our venue – in terms of layout, service food and coffee – is very ‘Melbournised’.”
Adding to that is coffee by DC. “They’ve been a fantastic support. We first tried their coffee at MICE2013, then we had a chat with the team, went to their Preston roastery and really connected with their coffee and personality. Coffee is a partnership and we knew the DC team were the right fit for us,” says Anne-Maree.
Pakington Pantry is the first Geelong customer for DC. They serve the Monsoon blend, DC decaf and a rotating selection of DC single origin coffees through a La Marzocco GB5. A past favourite includes an Elephant Hills Peaberry from India. The Monsoon blend has a medium to full body with a deep dry cocoa and rich toffee flavour and an orange, mandarin zest finish.
Matt is in charge of the modern-Australian menu. A huge all-day breakfast and lunch menu keeps Geelong residents happy, with items including egg benedict, wagu beef and pulled pork burgers, and buck-wheat pancakes. “I quite like being the taste tester who works through Matt’s menu,” says Anne-Maree. “It’s all delicious.”
She is responsible for the café’s interior design, which she describes as “homey”, with wood furnishings and exposed brick walls. “We want people to relax and enjoy the environment. It’s a vibrant space and I love working here,” Anne-Maree says.