By Jo Rittey


Plug Nickel is the kind of place that makes me smile. The name is the most complicated thing about it, and really, the Plug Nickel reference isn’t so much complicated as it is intriguing. But more about that later.


Simplicity reigns supreme here. The place is small, with only 10 seats inside and a couple of seats outside. The idea is to serve top-notch coffee and the kind of food you can eat on the run, literally. Most of the options can be held in your hands and grabbed in passing on your way to work or a meeting or just on your way in life and needing sustenance; think house-made sausage rolls, breakfast rotis, mini noodle salads. If you are sitting in, the granola, soups and NZ salmon soba noodle salad come in beautiful little earthen pottery bowls in a goldilocks’ serving size; not too big, not too small, but just right. And they are reasonable priced. Nothing is over $10.


With a veritable team of hospitality gurus owning and running the show; 6 in fact, 4 from Dr Morse and two baristas, the coffee at Plug Nickel is in good hands. They use 2015 World Barista Champion, Sasa Sestic’s coffee and the Sanremo Opera espresso machine Sestic designed with other World Champions. As I said, top-notch.


Far from hiding all the secrets to the perfect cup of coffee, you can buy the beans from Plug Nickel and refer to the series of cards they have prepared explaining the best way to coax the ultimate in coffee experiences from your beans, whether through a French press, pourover, stove top percolator or an aeropress.


Not only does the décor, dishes and coffee rate highly, but their collaborative community nature is also a winner. Joining Plug Nickel on this little corner in Collingwood are Ginger Hair for your cutting and dyeing pleasure and Northsider Wheelers for your cycling needs. They are also running coffee-making workshops for alternative brewing methods.


And as for the name, the phrase “not worth a plugged nickel” dates back to 1880 USA and refers to the worthlessness of a nickel which has had a section of metal removed and either left empty or replaced with an inferior metal. It’s relevance to this tiny hole in the wall café? Perhaps it’s because they’ve plugged a hole in the market, or filled a space on Peel Street with something different but no less worthy. Whatever the link, this is a place to visit regularly. Why don’t you get along there yourself, ask the lovely crew about the name and get amongst the goodness.



7 Peel Street, Collingwood


Mon – Fri 7am – 4pm

Sat 8am – 4pm

Sun 9am – 4pm




Jo is a French teacher, a freelance writer and needs good coffee to start her day. Armed with an exotic New Zealand accent and a winning (hopefully) smile, she likes nothing better than roaming the streets of the northside in search of new and old food-related wonders.


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