Julien Moussi, with various partners, runs Melbourne’s largest non-franchised cafe group. There are more than a dozen in the family, including Bentwood in Fitzroy, Nelson in Box Hill, Clubhouse in Malvern, six locations of the bakery Juliette, and the forthcoming Vermont General Store.
Now he’s taken over an iconic corner cafe on Ocean Beach Road, Sorrento’s main street. Until recently it was known as the Boss’s Daughter. Moussi has renamed it Buckley, in honour of an earlier incarnation, Buckley’s Chance, that sold pancakes and milkshakes.
“We’d been looking down that way for a little while,” he says. “We had a venue on the Gold Coast [Crew, in Burleigh Heads], which we decided to sell. We couldn’t get there because of lockdown. We felt our team was too separated.” Buckley was purchased with the proceeds of the Crew sale, and given a refresh in the way of new flooring, furniture, paint and lighting.
Gone, too, is the former espresso machine. Moussi replaced it with a shiny new Slayer, fed by beans from his own Inglewood Coffee Roaters, which recently moved to a new 3000-square-metre home in Glen Waverley. Cold brew, bottomless batch brew, chai, turmeric and matcha lattes are also available.
For the rest of the current lockdown the site is a pop-up location of Juliette, serving its croissants, pastries, doughnuts, delices and baguettes.
Come summer, and further easing of current restrictions, we imagine Buckley's normal-time brunch cocktail menu will get a pretty decent workout as people flock to their beach houses on the peninsula. There are Bloody Marys, Mimosas, Espresso Martinis and Aperol Spritzes, plus beer and wine.
Likewise the food menu, which interestingly is isn’t unique to this location. It’s identical to those at sister cafes Bentwood and Stanley. “Our regulars in those areas, they can come to Buckley and get the same offering and just know they can bank on it,” Moussi says.
There’s chilli scrambled eggs, churro waffles with ice-cream, cauliflower and haloumi fritters, eggs Benedict with braised beef brisket, a barbeque beef burger and plenty of iterations of things on toast. A separate kids’ menu contains three choices.
Whether you visit with kids or bring friends and get stuck into the booze, the large outdoor seating area remains the place to be, as it was with Boss’s Daughter and Buckley’s Chance.
“It’s a great corner spot,” Moussi says. “It’s so prominent, and it’s great for a people-watch. And lots of nice cars go through that roundabout, too. There’s a lot of old classics down there, so you do get to see them going past.”
174 Ocean Beach Road, Sorrento
(03) 5984 2888
Hours Daily 7am–4pm