I recently visited Mr Willis Art Espresso Bar and spent my morning getting to know owner Jimmy and his team. We spent a leisurely breakfast together talking about food, coffee, art and the amazing food scene in Geelong. Tucked away in East Geelong it would be easy to miss this little place. However, armed with an allergy friendly menu to please any foodie, organic coffee, art adorning the walls, and a delightful tapas and cocktail evening menu this little hidden gem has a lot to offer.
When asked about the beginnings of the cafe, Jimmy explained that he and his business partners found the small space and fell in love with it. “It was such a great space, and we knew we had to do something with it. We also wanted to include art as part of the concept,” explained Jimmy. With a look inspired by The Blues Brothers, a name reincarnated from a formerly owned cafe in Hampton, Melbourne and a regular rotation of artists displaying their work there’s plenty of quirk and creativity in this cafe’s ethos. It’s this ethos which is evident right down to the finer details of their menu.
With a new community of food and coffee lovers in Geelong, the menu at Mr Willis had to be just right. “Gone are the days of the big fry up” Jimmy said. “People’s tastes have changed, they want more delicate flavours in their food. And there’s a greater demand for gluten free, raw and vegan options”. After devouring the most delicious plate of gluten free and dairy free pancakes, with a perfect creamy almond latte I can certainly speak for the delicate flavours and the allergy friendly options. To follow the delicious food menu, the coffee menu certainly delivers. Whilst not specialising in single origin, Jimmy says the community knows the cafe for it’s organic origin coffee.
Mr Willis is open every Friday and Saturday night for tapas and cocktails. With a menu boasting cocktails in teapots, antipasto boards delicately arranged, spicy chorizo meatballs, buffalo wings and stuffed mushrooms the evening did not disappoint. Accompanied with a foodie friend, I took delight in indulging in the Mr Willis Teapot ( Passionfruit liqueur, vodka, cloudy apple juice, fresh lime and sprig of mint), the Bajan Tea Party ( Rum, butterscotch schnapps, sugar syrup + iced home brew english breakfast tea), the antipasto platter and the stuffed mushrooms. Delicious does not even begin to describe these menu items along with everything else on offer here!
I can’t thank the team at Mr Willis for their time and willingness to participate in this blog. This team is full of fun, they love what they do and it definitely shows. I could write another three paragraphs about just how good this place is, but I feel it’s best to save the fluff and cut to the chase. Just go. Don’t ask questions.
21a Ormond Rd East Geelong
Monday – Sunday 7:30 – 4:00 pm
Friday – Saturday 5:00 pm – late