Thanks to The Angmoh’s previous guest post, I thought I’d match him and do a list of places too. Brunch is an absolute favourite of mine so I’ve compiled yet another series of brunch eats at various cafes in all directions around Melbourne. Once again, this includes a café in each general direction of the compass. And this time round, there are CBD mentions.
Port Philip Arcade
228 Flinders Street
News can travel like wildfire. And for me, news regarding food travels like wildfire aided by Red Bull, Speed and bucketloads of caffeine. When I heard that the people behind Hardware Societe were opening an American-themed café, I couldn’t wait to check it out. Work commitments and fake relationship pacts made it tricky to visit: I promised Fakebooo I’d visit with him but we had to postpone the visit as I had to work over several RDOs. By the time we finally got there, I knew what I had to order. The peanut butter hot chocolate was a must.
The drink was a good balance of hot chocolate and peanut butter flavours but I wished for it to be thicker. Fakebooo’s Calmer Sutra chai was spicy and well-received.
Food is simple and American-styled. Think reuben sandwiches, meatball subs, gravlox bagels etc. I had The Lox Bagel which was pretty damn good. The bagel was dense and chewy, salmon wonderfully cured and the accompanying beetroot and dill cream cheese was just perfect. My only gripe was that it was a tad small for the price.
(Left) Lox bagel – beetroot horseradish, dill cream cheese schmear, limed onion, watercress $12.50
(Right) Breaded eggplant – haloumi cheese, roasted peppers, preserved lemon hummus + side salad, pretzels, pickle$16.50
Fakebooo paid $4 extra for a set lunch, which came with a side salad, pretzels and a pickle. He was on a vegetarian spree and went meatless with the breaded eggplant wrap. While I’d have preferred a smoother hummus, the haloumi and grilled peppers were delicious.
The desserts were slightly on the let down. The keylime tart had a tangy smooth cream cheese filling but the meringue was a poorly shaped, rubbery, dense marshmallow. The baked New York cheesecake had a rustic crumbed base with hints of raw oats. Both desserts were simply alright. I’ve had a friend order the keylime tart another time with the meringue fluffy and light (the way it should be) so perhaps my visit was a once-off.
The unsatisfying dessert left an emptiness that needed fulfilling. I ducked into Alice Nivens Café later that same afternoon to escape the sudden torrential downpour, satisfy my demanding sweet tooth and celebrate a little. I had just escaped from the doctor’s with a report of benignity. At Alice’s wonderland, I faced an internal struggle between having an entire slice of cake or a little cookie. The angel on my shoulder won and my tummy received a peanut butter cookie. It more than made up for the disappointing dessert experience of the morning.
I look forward to returning to try more of Alice’s tempting goodies.
81 Hopkins Street
+61 3 9995 4054
Once again, regarding food and wildfire, I insisted that we check out Guerilla Espresso after I’d read about their truffle toastie in Broadsheet. The Angmoh grudgingly tagged along. He does give in to my whims most of the time.
Guerilla Espresso is located on the Irving Street side of Footscray Market. It is teeny tiny and has a shiny La Marzocco machine to push out Allpress or Proud Mary espressos. We went with the latter and were immediately woken up by the fresh zesty lemon peel in our magics, made from the Ghostrider blend.
The menu is kept simple: sandwiches, crumpets, juices and some sweets are offered. The Angmoh had some fruit toast with slathered on rosemary butter. The savoury herbaceous spread was an unexpected delight. It went perfectly with the sweet bread, and of course, paired well with the citrusy coffee too.
We needed something more substantial and headed North, which will be mentioned at the very end of this post.
Porgie and Mr Jones
291 Auburn Road
+61 3 9882 2955
Sometimes, good food is worth sacrificing sleep for. So on one of my RDOs, I woke when the Angmoh did and accompanied him at Porgie and Mr Jones for breakfast.
PM+J is quaint. It was once a house and the sections are still kept the way they were, such that customers can dine in the living room, sitting room, courtyard, and of course the dining room. We rocked up at 7.30 that morning and were seated in the sitting room, in the plush leather chairs next to the now non-functioning fireplace.
We always have the same thing everytime we visit PM+J, and this breakfast wasn’t any different. The Angmoh has a weakness for dukkah eggs (there are 3 places that he has committed to memory for this dish) and I love their herb and cheese bread.
We were very satisfied with our dishes, as usual. The eggs were perfectly poached and there was a generous serve of the spiced dukkah. My breakfast dish consisted of 2 thick-cut slices of grain toast smothered in grilled cheese. Mmmm, it’s salty, stretchy, chewy and absolutely worth singeing the roof of my mouth.
The Angmoh had a magic with the house blend Allpress beans, while I had a piccolo latte with the single origin from Brazil.
Our breakfast hour ended too soon. I gave him a kiss goodbye and as he headed off to work, I worked off breakfast by jogging 7km home.
269 Coventry Street
+61 3 9682 8820
It is small and probably fits about 15 people tops. On warm balmy days, milk crates are strewn outside as makeshift furniture for coffee-sipping and people-watching. A door has now been created to connect the neighbouring concept store RG Madden to the café.
The coffee is from Single Origin Roasters and the menu has expanded considerably from when she first opened. My previous visits had me enjoying their bircher and in my most recent visit I was in the mood for eggs. And so was The Angmoh.
We chose from the “Weekends only” menu and had 2 poached eggs each: mine with mushies, his with smoked salmon and avocado. Both dishes were simple but superbly done and totally hit the spot.
My piccolo latte was thick, intense and deep and The Angmoh’s iced chocolate was sweet and chocolatey-rich.
I am ridiculously spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing brunch spots within a 5min radius from home. Giddiup is a crowd-pleaser and I’m certain I’ll find my way back many more times.
So after coffee from Guerilla, we wandered through Little Saigon Market and took away a couple of Banh Mis from Nhu Lan. (Side note, I am totally in love with the Vietnamese baguettes from Nhu Lan and the tofu version makes a great Meatless Monday lunch.)
The Angmoh was still peckish and I had yet to breakfast. We drove into North Melbourne and were fortunate to be seated quickly at Twenty and Six Espresso.
I was rather jazzed up with caffeine from the previous coffee so I had a chai latte. The houseblend tea was spectacular! It was spicy with strong notes of ginger and cinnamon. The Angmoh had yet to feel the effects, so he ordered a magic brewed from Proud Mary’s Honeysuckle blend. It was totally different from the previous Proud Mary coffee and was much lighter with floral hints.
The Angmoh didn’t bother looking further down the menu once he saw the words “slow poached eggs”. To that, he added mushies. The eggs were wobbly, gooey and bled brilliantly a river of glorious orange. I had the bircher muesli which was almost too pretty to eat. It was full of fresh flavours and the puffed rice gave it crunch and the honeycomb-like toffeed nuts provided the sweetness.
Brunch at Twenty and Six was fulfilling and we were satiated.
This concludes my latest round of brunching, but brunch is like crack to me so I’m sure there are many more brunch posts to come!