Directional Brunching

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
Carlton North
Vic 3054
+61 3 9380 5499
St Ali North on Urbanspoon


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 n

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.

St ali  n - mapst ali n - piccolo
Piccolo latte $4

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.

bone marrow
Bone and Brew – Roasted bone marrow, morcilla, egg yolk emulsion, fennel, capers and toasted brioche, served with Black Filter Coffee $19.50

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.

Make Friends With Salad – Zucchini, heirloom tomatoes, crispy quinoa, olive dust $15

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 cake
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!


Chez Dre
287 Coventry Street (rear)
South Melbourne
Vic 3205
+61 3 9690 2688
Chez Dré on Urbanspoon

chez dre

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.

chez dre croissant
Eggs Your Way – Scrambled on croissant $9.50
Add sautéed mushrooms $4

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.

chez dre platter
Grand Petit Dejeuner – poached eggs on sourdough, bacon, spicy lamb sausage, potato rosti, sautéed mushrooms, slow roasted tomato, avocado and tomato relish $21

french toast
Brioche French Toast – Caramelized apples, vanilla mascarpone and orange tuile $17.50

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.

chez dre coffee
(Top) Piccolo latte $3.80
(Bottom) Magic $3.80

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.

Green Tea, Mango and Black Sesame – mango jelly, white chocolate creme, black sesame brulee, green tea mousse $8.50

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.

chez dre dessert


428 Malvern Road
+61 3 9510 8336
Hobba on Urbanspoon


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.

hobba breakfastSousvide egg
Hobba Breakfast – Mushy, tomato, snag, bacon, relish, eggs $18

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.

hobba baked eggs
Souffled omelette with spiced silverbeet, shanklish and tomato jam $15

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.

hobba magic
Magic $3.50

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
Vic 3015
+61 3 9391 6016
Duchess of Spotswood on Urbanspoon

Candied Bakery
81a Hudsons Road
Vic 3015
+61 3 9391 1335

Candied Bakery on Urbanspoon

duchess of spotswood

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.

duchess - cofteaduchess of pork - light
(Top Right) Jasmine tea – $3.50
(Bottom Left) Piccolo latte – $3.50

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.

duchess - ox tongue
Idle Tongues – Seared ox tongue, Soubise sauce, smoked bone marrow croquette, poached egg and toast $17.50

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.

duchess of pork - porkduchess - yolk
Duchess of Pork – Crispy pig’s jowl, fried eggs, rich truffle sauce and toast $18.50

Being 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.

candied bakery
Soft serve – Peanut butter and jelly (flavour of the week) $4.50

I’m hoping to visit again, this time to try their baked goods.



Filed under Brunch, Carlton North, Coffee, prahran, South Melbourne, Spotswood, Sweets

19 responses to “Directional Brunching

  1. Em

    I love Hobba, never had a bad breakfast there.

  2. What a lovely round up, I’ve never been to Hoba or Candied Bakery.. must go!!!

  3. Great post! I’m an East-sider myself but out of all the cafes in your post I’ve only been to Candied and Duchess – must try the others soon!

    That French Toast at Chez Dre looks fantastic, such a shame it was dry 😦

  4. Aww what a shame that your soft serve at Candied Bakery was a bit grainy. I’ve been meaning to go back for all the sweets and more soft serve flavours – milo and condensed milk waaaa!?!

  5. Wow, what an intense brunching post! We are not really brunch-type of people, but there are some very delicious-looking breakfast desserts that you have featured. Must visit, me thinks. 🙂

  6. Hahaha love the title and the objective! I still need to go try Hobba! Grrr!

  7. Oooooh I love brunch and I love everything about this post! I adore the 4 places you’ve covered and it’s so cute you’ve grouped them into the 4 points of the compass!! 🙂

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