I love brunch. And I have a zillion brunch places to blog about. So I’ve decided to group them up. This post will feature a café in the letters of the compass.
St. Ali North
815 Nicholson Street
+61 3 9380 5499
St. Ali is a long-standing reputable café in Melbourne. The original is located in South Melbourne, and sometime late 2012 a sister café was set up in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, with a simple no-nonsense name to it.
St. Ali North is located next to a playground, and runs along a bicycle trail. The café not only provides a route to travel between the two branches, it also offers a ‘ride-through’ takeaway coffee window. Very hipster indeed.
Fakebooo and I visited on a sunny morning. The houseblend piccolo latte had a pecan-y nutty taste to it, while the single origin was floral with a slight charcoal finish.
Booo’s brunch dish was a boldly unusual offering of bone marrow and blood pudding, bound together by a rick yolk emulsion. It came with black coffee, which helped cut through the richness, and perhaps enhance the strong flavours of the main ingredients. ‘He who endeavors to get fat’ lovingly scraped out every morsel of marrow. It was wonderfully satisfying.
I opted for a far healthier dish of zucchini and tomato salad. The vegetables were prepared in different ways, the zucchini was roasted while the tomatoes were raw or dehydrated. The crispy quinoa provided a textural crunch.
Carrot and ginger cake – $5.50
I was still peckish and the ginger carrot cake was a perfect sweet ending.
As I live within walking distance to the original St. Ali, I might not visit her sister in the North anytime soon. However, I may just use the map provided one day: coffee in the South followed by a jog up to the North. Read about Booo’s take on St. Ali North here!
287 Coventry Street (rear)
+61 3 9690 2688
The Angmoh, Booo and I visited Chez Dre on Good Friday. Having visited a few times, we were disappointed with the food on this particular visit.
Booo’s croissant was buttery but the mushrooms were not too exciting. The same mushrooms were also on The Angmoh’s breakfast plate. They had an odd taste to them, possibly with an over seasoning of thyme. To make it worse, the eggs were overcooked and lacked a gooey yolk to soften the accompanying stale hard bread.
Unlike my counterparts, I opted for a sweet breakfast. The caramelized apples were pretty nice but the brioche was dry and hadn’t soaked up enough egg batter.
Our meal wasn’t entirely unpleasant. The coffees were lovely. The Symmetry beans are from The Maling Room and make a full-bodied coffee with deep intensity and dark flavours.
Booo felt like “something Asian” and orderd the green tea cake with black sesame and mango. It was extremely light and well-made. All the flavours came through beautifully and harmonized in a lovely manner.
I think I might give Chez Dre the benefit of the doubt for this particular visit, with it being a public holiday and possibly missing key kitchen staff. After all, my previous visits have always churned out delicious food with me and my tummy leaving satisfied.
428 Malvern Road
+61 3 9510 8336
Hobba is an absolute favourite of The Angmoh’s. He loves it for one good reason: sous-vide eggs. Eggs slow cooked at 62.5 degrees are a wobbly, unraveled gooey delight, and a must-have for The Angmoh.
I treated The Angmoh to lunch one day after he had passed a work exam. He had his usual dish, which is basically a typical ‘big breakfast’ plate but with the all-important slow-poached eggs. Hobba has perfected the art of slow-cooking eggs, they absolutely melt in the mouth and are mandatory eating for hardcore egg fans.
My souffled egg turned out to be a baked omelette, which is a rather brilliant idea as the eggs came out airy and fluffy. Paired with tangy tomato jam and wilted silverbeet, it made a healthy lunch.
The coffees were ok. They were made from 5 Senses beans but lacked the deep dark chocolate tones I’ve found elsewhere.
The Duchess of Spotswood
87 Hudsons Road
+61 3 9391 6016
81a Hudsons Road
+61 3 9391 1335
Her Grace, the Duchess of Spotswood, has been a consistent favourite of mine. I’ve visited several times for lunch and brunch, and even when they offered a 3-course dinner. Alas, the dinner is no longer available, but the brunch menu still offers yummy English-inspired dishes, with a quirky pun to their names.
Coffee is by Small Batch and is fragrant, light and cannot be faulted. My Jasmine green tea was well-steeped and had a wonderful heady floral fragrance.
Booo and I went for artery-clogging options this particular day with him having the ox tongue, while I had the pork jowl. Both of dishes were fatteningly, meltingly, gloriously rich. Certainly not for the faint-hearted.
piggies foodies that we are, we hopped over to Candied Bakery, hoping to sample a few of their renowned sweet treats. Unfortunately, we went during closing time. Everything but the soft serve had sold out. Not to miss an opportunity, especially when the flavour of the week is peanut butter jelly, we had a soft serve each. It was thick and sweet, but the peanut butter flavour was only subtle, appearing on the palate infrequently. I also found it slightly on the grainy and powdery side.
I’m hoping to visit again, this time to try their baked goods.