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Located at the former home of Starry Nites Café in the Flatiron Building of Rochester’s Neighborhood of the Arts District, Matilda Coffee House and Kitchen officially opened its doors for business on Tuesday, September 29.
With Whole Latte Love serving as both product supplier and optimizer, Matilda’s opening also christened the Dalla Corte XT, the first official commercial Dalla Corte espresso machine used by a coffee house in the area.
The brainchild of Tony Colon, owner of Fuego Coffee Roasters, and Derrick DePorter, chef and owner of Unter Biergarten, Matilda is an “Australian Cafe” offering a multifaceted and mostly locally sourced menu of beverage and food options.
Coffee, espresso and tea, as well as a draft beer, cider, wine, prosecco and nitro brew selections highlight drink options, while all-day breakfast items, sandwiches and grain bowls headline the food menu.
Colon and DePorter were gracious enough to allow Whole Latte Love to attend a soft opening and sample various beverages and food before Tuesday’s official opening. Continue reading for an in-depth breakdown of our thoughts and observations, below.
Matilda, at 696 University Avenue, is now open Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Outdoor seating and takeout options are also available.
The XT is one of the flagship espresso machines from Italy-based Dalla Corte and the first commercial Dalla Corte machine used by a coffee house in Rochester. The machine, supplied to Matilda by Whole Latte Love, looks stunning as the countertop centerpiece with an all-white design with silver accents.
The XT is a technical marvel as well. A few prime examples are flow profiling, an innovative weight system and precise temperature control, among a slew of other features.
To make the most of its features, the experts at Whole Latte Love, with Dalla Corte Brand Ambassador Danillo Lodi, helped dial in the XT at Matilda for temperature and flow rate to optimize and enhance the flavor, aroma and presentation of each drink option available.
For flow profiling, each independent group has a new flow control. This means coffee can be customized to obtain a desired recipe by manually regulating the flow profile for each group. The weight system provides impressive accuracy via a real-time weight control during extraction, while precise temperature control is achieved by the ability of the flow controller and probe to manage temperatures up to 0.1 degree Celsius.
As coffee aficionados, we were extremely impressed when we observed the XT first-hand and even more satisfied with the espresso it produced from our specifications. For those whose interests do not include espresso machine analysis and optimization, the main takeaway here is that the XT - and in-turn the baristas at Matilda - can serve fantastic beverages of all kinds, every time.
Our initial drink from the XT was a delicious cortado served in a beautiful and on-theme pink tinted traditional cortado glass.
Of the two all-new and exclusive blends available, we were lucky enough to try “Hey Jude,” a 70/30 mix of washed light medium roast Columbian Hulia and natural light medium roast Ethiopian Yirgacheffe.
The resulting flavor was a decadent plethora of deep, rich cherry flavors with a hint of sweet grapefruit and tropical fruits.
The other blend, “8 Days A Week,” keeps with The Beatles theme. While we did not get a chance to try it, the aroma nearby cups of it gave off was intoxicating.
Other coffee and espresso drinks available include drip coffee in small, medium or large sizes, a sharable 1 Liter of French press, espresso, americano, cappuccino, latte and mocha. Specialty drinks of pumpkin spice, flat white and lavender fennel are also available.
Black, green and herbal tea options are available for non-coffee drinkers.
Fuego Coffee Roasters offers its own cold brew coffee that brews for 20 hours to minimize acidity and provide a deliciously smooth taste.
Matilda offers nine alcoholic beverage options, including:
Matilda has a concise, yet diverse food menu consisting of all-day breakfast items, baked goods, sandwiches and grain bowls. Most of, if not all the ingredients are locally sourced and - from what we tasted - at peak freshness.
We tried the breakfast sandwich, Belgian waffle, NE style shrimp roll and brie panini. All four items were delicious.
Ranked from our favorite to least favorite, we’d say the brie panini, with Asian pear, honey and bacon on ciabatta bread, was the front-runner. Second was the breakfast sandwich, with fried egg, cheddar, arugula, bacon and sri’rancha sauce on an English muffin, followed by the Belgian waffle with macerated berries, chocolate whip cream and peanut butter powder, and the shrimp roll with shrimp salad, bibb lettuce and celery on a New England style roll.
There are 10 additional food options we didn’t get a chance to try, as well as alacarte extras like toast, fruit, eggs, bacon and avocado and an assortment of baked goods.
The other menu options include avocado toast, quiche, pulled pork eggs benedict and a blueberry acai bowl for all-day breakfast, plus a Cuban sandwich, chicken sandwich, panzanella salad and “green goddess” vegetable sandwich.
Grain bowl options include a rainbow bowl of farro, red lentils, avocado, sugar snap peas, corn, almonds, cucumber, feta and avocado ranch yogurt dressing, or a fall bowl of red quinoa, spinach, delicata squash, apples, walnuts, smoked gouda and maple balsamic vinaigrette.
Just like the food and drink offered, the layout and design of Matilda is a delight for the senses.
For those who frequented Starry Nites Café before it, the Matilda’s layout is essentially flipped, with the triangular corner entrance leading to the main seating area and the University Avenue side entrance leading to the ordering counter.
Ample amounts of tables and chairs for outdoor seating also extend beyond the corner entrance to take advantage of the building’s unique location.
Everything inside the building is on theme with a sophisticated, yet comfortable design.
Seating is spacious and tables are accommodating for groups of various sizes throughout. The walls are painted in aesthetically pleasing colors with pieces of art strewn about.
One of the more subtle, yet terrific design choices is the main countertop where orders are placed and the XT and other machines are housed. The base of the counter has wooden paneling with slight gaps emanating a soft, pink light between each panel that contrasts wonderfully with the white countertop.
The homepage of Matilda’s website states “Matilda is an Australian Café that prides itself in fresh, healthy eats and drink, and creating a social environment that welcomes everyone. This is a place where the barista knows your name and remembers your favorite sandwich,” and we couldn’t agree more.
From the presence of the Dalla Corte XT to the owners and workers themselves, everything about Matilda was wonderful in our time spent there.
We at Whole Latte Love want to thank Tony Colon, Derrick DePorter and the rest of the staff at Matilda for allowing us to partake in their soft opening. We certainly plan on becoming regular customers.
For more information, visit the official Matilda Coffee House and Kitchen website and follow on Facebook and Instagram. As always, also check back with Whole Latte Love for more reviews and other coffee-related content.