6 April 2023

Five minutes with Emily Mills, East Row Specialty Coffee

| Lucy Ridge
Emily wears a green dress and stands in front of the East Row logo

Emily Mills, manager at East Row Specialty Coffee. Photo: Lucy Ridge.

In a nutshell, who are you?
I’m the manager of East Row Specialty Coffee, and when I’m not doing that, I am studying fashion at CIT.

What’s a dish that best sums up what your venue does?
We specialise in coffee, so I’d say a classic ONA flat white from whatever range of beans we have at the time – it’s constantly changing.

Our signature dish on the menu is potato fritters: deep-fried cheese-y fritters with poached eggs, hollandaise and a choice of meat or the best mushrooms I’ve ever had!

What’s a dish you love to cook?
I love soup! I’m a huge fan of soup; I like making my own stock. But I’ve recently stopped eating meat so I’ve had to find some workarounds.

Beautiful bowl of fritters, eggs and hollandaise sauce.

The signature dish at East Row Specialty Coffee is the potato fritters. Photo: East Row Specialty Coffee Facebook.

Favourite Cuisine?
At the moment, I’m really into Vietnamese food. I love those lemongrass flavours and creamy curries.

An ingredient you can’t live without?
Bread! When it’s crusty on the top and you break it open the smell just travels. I’m glad I’m not gluten-free!

Who is your biggest culinary influence?
I really like Anthony Bourdain. He’s very inspiring – a complete arsehole – but when I’m not feeling great, I just chuck on some Bourdain and it’s great.

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What food media is inspiring you right now?
Because I’m trying to be more vegetarian, I’m really into the Happy Pear on YouTube. I recently picked up one of their cookbooks and have been having a really good time making bacon substitutes.

What do you wish people understood about your job?
It really does take a team; it’s not something I do by myself. It’s something everyone has to contribute to or it doesn’t run well. And we just go, you don’t stop for a long time.

Wall at Sweet Bones Bakery

Sweet Bones at Scullin shops is a hit with locals. Photo: MyScullin.

Where do you dine out in Canberra for comfort food?
I’m super obsessed with Sweet Bones. My go-to is their spicy jack burger.

Where do you dine out for special occasions?
I like Chez Frederic. I haven’t been there in a while but they do great pasta. And I like how small it is. It’s a very intimate venue.

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What’s your go-to coffee?
I have black coffee, straight up. An iced long black, or I’ll always try a new espresso. When I feel like a little milk coffee, I like ONA’s Gateway blend. It’s like a chocolate truffle, really earthy. It’s super good.

Where would you take out-of-town visitors to show off the best of Canberra?
I’d bring them here [to East Row Coffee] first of all! We’d definitely have to go to the National Gallery. We do very good culture here! I would probably take them to Bentspoke as well.

Who do you admire in the Canberra food scene?
I’d love to shout out Bella and Wonjin from Cafe Beetroot in Tuggeranong. They’re super inspiring. Gorgeous little place, gorgeous people, and they do great coffee.

Exterior KYO coffee project courtyard

KYO Coffee Project in Braddon. Photo: KYO Coffee Project Facebook.

What’s a well-kept (or not so well-kept) foodie secret in Canberra?
KYO Coffee Project in Braddon is super tucked away and a bit exclusive.

What’s your dream travel destination?
I’d like to end up in Melbourne eventually, which is more to pursue the fashion side of things. But I’m also all over the food there too!

What do you think the ‘next big thing’ is in the Canberra food scene?
I feel like matcha could be the next big thing. It would be good if it’s not already happening!

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Where are you excited to eat next?
There is a little bar around the corner I’ve been meaning to check out called Blue Eyes. I haven’t had a chance yet, but I’d like to check it out. It looks like the 1920s with champagne-pouring vibes and it looks like they have really good food as well.

Coffee machine and counter at East Row Specialty Coffed

Emily Mills says she mostly drinks black coffee. Photo: East Row Specialty Coffee Facebook.

What are your top 3 recipe tips?
1. Save your veggie scraps and make stock with them. Just freeze them!
2. Switch to black coffee, get rid of the milk and get on the black coffee. That’s where it’s at!
3. Chilli oil. I put it on eggs, potatoes, and on top of my soup: I put it on everything, honestly! Chilli oil is good!

East Row Specialty Coffee is located in the Sydney building on the corner of London Circuit and East Row. It’s open Monday to Saturday from 7:30 am to 3 pm, and on Sunday from 8 am to 3 pm.

Original Article published by Lucy Ridge on Riotact.

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