25 Wills Street
+61 3 9670 3278
12 Sutherland Street
My brother and wifey fly over to get away from Singapore annually. This time round their little one, my niece, came along for the trip.
After collecting them all bushy-eyed from their night flight, we hightailed it to Operator 25, a café with eggs benny so legendary that it had travelled across the waters where my sis’ in law (SIL) caught wind of it in Singapore.
Staying away from the bleak and sterile Scandinavian look that seems to be the rage of Melbourne, Operator 25 tucks into a little laneway bordered by worn brick walls and grey concrete. Completed with bleached wood topped with bright flowers, the overall atmosphere is inviting and warm.
A high chair is offered for my 18month old niece and once she’s settled the eating begins. Obviously being child-free, it’s never occurred to me to be offered or glance at a kids menu. I always assumed Aussie bubs feed off their parent’s dish as per the Asian custom, and the older ones with monstrous appetites would be stuffed to a comatose brim if they finished a dish from the usual menu. Operator 25 whipped out a kiddie menu, which downsized the portions, perfect for hungry little monsters and greedy parents not wanting to share. My niece had a dish of ham and cheese omelette, a humble but excellent dish which she readily opened her gob when offered a serve.
SIL had the eggs benny, of course, which she mopped up every bit of it. There was crisp rosti, perfectly poached gooey eggs and excellent ham, all topped with a rich yolky sauce of tangy mustardy hollandaise.
My brother, a man of simple pleasures, had bacon and eggs. He does like his breakfast pork and even said the very words “bacon is bacon; there is no substitute’. Amen to that. I daresay he was thoroughly satisfied.
And as for myself, as soon as I found out that the omelette of the day contained mushrooms and three cheeses, I was sold. There was enoki and swiss mushies, cooked down into a tasteful deliciousness, blanketed by stretchy cheese and peppered with chopped parsley. It was good, but could be punchier if the use of goats cheese was included.
Full and happy, I dropped them off at Queen Victoria Market for a quick grocery pickup while I made a beeline to Shortstop, the new, much-talked about and often photographed café. There was one thing and one thing only on my mind, donuts. I hopped in, picked up 2 and sped off to collect my awaiting passengers.
Later that day, I indulged in these babies. No, I didn’t have them all at once. I could… but didn’t.
The earl grey and rose donut turned out to be a crumbly teacake. The glaze of rose water syrup was not too sweet although the scent and taste of oil could be detected. The peanut butter and jam on the other hand, was an absolute winner. The donut was made with a chewy bread-like batter and glazed with a lovely peanut butter drizzle. There was a generous stuffing of jam, and it too, like the glaze, was gentle with sugar.
There are 7 more flavours to go through, and cinnamon/cardamom and rhubarb/ginger are high on my list. The next time I’m there, I’ll probably swing into Raw Trader to balance it all out with some healthy treats. You heard me alright, raw cheesecake, imma get you.