A towering, teal-blue and white mural marks the spot at Bam, on Albion Street in Essendon. And it doesn’t beat around the bush, spelling out “A better corner store.”
This isn’t the kind of corner store you’d visit as a kid to raid the pick’n’mix lolly station. Instead, owners (and brothers) Joseph and David Rofaeil have given the old-school milk-bar model an upgrade – with small-batch local products, hard-to-find imported goods and a stellar sandwich offering. It’s like the pantry you wish you had.
Shopping-list mainstays are taken care of, with Bam-branded bread baked by Penny for Pound, milk from Melbourne micro-dairy St David and free-range Cracking eggs. But you’ll likely leave with more than you bargained for; the vibrant array of specialty Melbourne-made products includes Fancy Hank’s sauces, City Larder pates and terrines, and Monsieur Truffe chocolates.
At the front of the small shop is a deli with a rotating menu. It might include roast pork belly ciabattas with crispy crackling and burnt-apple aioli; French three-cheese-fondue baguettes; and lofty chicken club sandwiches.
If you’re on the go, the snatch-and-grab breakfast menu includes a bacon-and-egg milk bun and a croissant with mortadella and truffled scrambled eggs, plus coffee from Ona.