Unfortunately, Compass Rose has closed its doors for good. I walked down to get a coffee but all I found was a sign on the door with the sad message. I never reviewed Compass Rose while it was open, but the many coffees I had here were always spot on! Matt really knows what he is doing behind a machine and I wish him the best wherever he goes next.
The owner needs to trust his own roasts more. Have had several coffees here, had the Proud Mary's blend on both milk and black. Have to say it is TERRIBLE as a milk based coffee but quite pleasant as a long black or espresso. I often speak to the owner about his roasting, finding out what he's doing - as he explains that he doesn't want to serve that predominately and would rather use someone elses product for consistency. It's understandable but the first ever single origin (roasted at Compass Rose) that I sampled was one of the best coffees I had for 2013. Well done to you. Other than that - the food is simple, most of the menu stolen from Commune (which is ironic because Matt used to work there), the fitout is simple and gradually growing and becoming more interesting. The mirror on the wall fools me everytime but you usually get a nice chat and decent coffee and that's all you're after at a place like compass rose.
This cafe is best approached when travelling north on the G.C. Highway, turning off at Glenelg St and then almost immediately a left turn into one of those 1960 style shopping centres where you should find plenty of parking. The cafe is roomy with almost every possible seating/table arrangement that you have come across in other cafes and it works here. I chose the comfortable leather lounge at the rear while there is some seating outside. An experienced barista produces a good coffee from that Synesso/Proud Mary combo with those characteristic P.M. notes of butter and cocoa. There is not much foot traffic around here so Compass Rose will hopefully build a solid base of loyal clients who will travel and from my observations that is already happening.
Seems every time I visit the Gold Coast these days there’s a new café that’s just opened. Recently I discovered Compass Rose in Mermaid Beach which is located just off the GC Highway behind a great little Turkish Restaurant I know called Pasha’s. It may not be beachside or in one of the trendier areas of the Gold Coast, but the location is very handy and easy to get to. Inside there’s a really interesting use of lighting, timber framing and an assortment of crates used for tables and chairs, a great mural by a local artist, and a very nice looking Chersterfield lounge. The combination gives this place some real character, and this is essential as it’s set amongst a row of very typical looking (ie boring) circa 80’s Gold Coast shops. Compass Rose is like an oasis here, feeling very current, even edgy! Sitting at the very industrial-looking communal table, I was also really impressed by the cleverly placed mirror beyond the espresso area that deceives you into thinking there’s another large room there. I had a really good chat with owner Matt during my visit. He may be a Pom, but don’t let that fool you – he knows his coffee and can really drive his beautiful Synesso machine! I enjoyed two piccolos, both from Proud Mary Coffee. I started with the Eagle Eye blend, and followed up with a Panama Don Pepe honey-processed single origin (which although predominantly prepared black, was surprisingly good on milk). Both of my coffees were flawless in their preparation, and thoroughly enjoyable. I've since read that Compass Rose is currently serving up a single origin which is a collaboration of two of my very favourite Australian roasters – Cartel from Geelong and 3rd Crack (of Uncle Joe’s Coffee House fame). That is one coffee I can’t wait to try! With its handy location, really cool fit out, great personal service and exceptional coffees, Compass Rose has a winning formula and is poised to be one of the Gold Coast’s best. It’s also just 5 minutes away from my folks’ place so I can see myself visiting often.
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