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Archive for the ‘Breakfast/Brunch’ Category

Espresso Alley

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Espresso Alley

5 Separation St

Northcote Victoria 3070

Hours: Tues – Fri 7am – 4pm, Sat – Sun 8am – 4pm

Espresso Alley sits right opposite Northcote Shopping Centre on Separation Street, in a refurbished house with a deceptively small shop front which accommodates 5 bike posts, for those inclined to bike it.

Full of natural light and fitted with a mezzanine level, the illusion of space works in Espresso Alley’s favour. For those on the lower level of the cafe, it gives a whole new meaning to “looking up” to the coffee machine.

With the food-prep area proudly located in the middle of the cafe, the piadinas, tiramisus and vegan-friendly friands are displayed for all to see.

The quirky tables were a highlight for me, simple wooden tables given a lick of black paint with silhouettes of various food-related implements left bare and a clear lacquer applied over the handiwork. I guess the Vinces Mazzone & Colosimo, or their decorators, have a good eye!

Food-wise, they’ve stuck to a short, simple menu which includes toasties, somethingh I consider an entirely underrated cafe food.

I chose to have smashed avocado on toast, a personal favourite of mine. My avo was mashed to the perfect consistency of “smashed”, smooth enough to spread chunky enough that I can spear a hunk of avocado should I choose to, the cheese was salty and herby and perfect and the mixture was worked through so I couldn’t throw anything out.

The only letdown was that my toast was slightly burnt around the edges and difficult to cut through due to over-toasting.

In their defence, I did rock up far too early on a Saturday morning (8.30am!) on a 39 degree day.

They take great pride coffee-wise, with the barista personally coming out with my cappuccino in order to apologise for the “slight bubbles”. Apparently it’s calving season and they’re giving the cows a different feed, leading to more bubbly milk (?).

I didn’t mind. The (Coffee Supreme) coffee was fantastic overall and if the cows don’t want to cooperate,  I’m not one to shoot the barista.

Overall, I’d go back. It’s very early days yet and I can see potential.

Written by Becca Z

April 2, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Cafe Vue @ Heide

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Heide

7 Templestowe Road
Bulleen
Phone: 03 9852 2346

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Day: Tues-Fri 10am-5pm,  Sat-Sun 9am-5pm
Dinner:                      Thurs-Sat 6pm-9pm

Catching up with the lovely ladies, we decided to try the latest addition to the Vue family –  Cafe Vue @ Heide, the museum of Modern Art, tucked away in the eastern suburbs.

We opted for the Menu du jour which gives 2 courses $35, or 3 courses $45.

(We didn’t actually have a choice – we booked a table, booking ensures you have to order the menu du jour. If you take your chances and just rock up, then you can order a la carte from the cafe menu, which is a little more inexpensive).

The three of us decided to go entree + main, and bypass dessert.

Menu du jour for July was a entree choice of

Pearl Barley Risotto

duck and pistachio terrine

The risotto was perhaps a little too ‘al dente’ for my liking, but that’s more my preference than the way it was cooked. It tasted fine, however a little too ‘healthy’ for my liking, like brown rice.

The duck and pistachio terrine looked fantastic, the flavours were good but lacked depth in flavour.

For mains, choices were the

skate salad

which was slices of tender skate  served ontop of mousselines of pomme purree, roasted baby beetroot, fennel, olive oil, fennel and capers
or

lamb ragu with pappardelle

The skate was cooked to perfection, with generous slices of tender fish. However, although this dish had nice clean piquant flavours, witch each individual component being perfectly cooked, this dish lacked a certain ‘je-ne-sais-quoi’. It looked amazing, texturally it was perfect, with the nice bite from the skate, the crunch from the fennel, the tender beets  and the perfectly smooth pomme purree, however it just didn’t wow me.

Similarly with the ragu. The pasta ribbons were cooked to perfection, the dish again looked amazing, but it lacked depth of flavour. The sauce was slightly watery.

Having said that, it was overall a very pleasant experience. The cafe is charming, with big open windows, the crockery delightful and the service was faultless. The food is by no means bad, but it just lacked a ‘robust-ness.’ Definitely keen to return and see what else they have on offer, and also to have the famed Café Vue Lunch Box.

Jess’ Ratings

Taste: 6. The flavours were almost there. It just needed to go to the next level.

Value: 6.5. $35 is a tad pricey considering the standard of the food. However, the ingredients used were of excellent quality. The cafe brunch menu is excellent value though.

Service: 8.  No problems with this.

Atmosphere: 8. A great place to spend a lazy weekend afternoon.

Overall: 7. I’ve been to the other Cafe Vues and have been more impressed with the food. I’m just going to put it down to the menu not suiting my taste. Definitely will return.

Written by glutamatejess

August 12, 2010 at 12:22 am

Mitte

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Mitte

76 Michael St (cnr Rowe Street)
Fitzroy North
Ph: 9077 7379

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Hours: Mon & Wed-Fri 7.30am-4.30pm
Sat-Sun 8am-4.30pm

Located in the sleepy Fitzroy North, it is hard to believe that Mitte is only a stone’s throw away from the bustling Brunswick and Smith Streets of Fitzroy and Collingwood. Mitte is hidden in the back streets, and is a charming neighbourhood cafe. Much can be said about a cafe that is hard to find yet is full to the brim.

Winner of The Age Cheap Eats 2009 breakfast of the year, the breakfastblog claims these are the best poached eggs in Melbourne.

I ordered;

Poached eggs with Smoked Salmon - $18

Splitting a poached egg and watching the yolk ooze out from poached eggs to me is as visually satisfying as hearing the ‘crack’ when you break the burnt sugar topping in a creme brulee. This dish did not let me down, as these eggs, perfectly poached, once I put knife and fork to them released a delightful bright yellow stream of yolk.

perfectly poached eggs, oozing yolk

The eggs sat atop a couple of slices of Dench multigrain bread, with a generous serve of smoked salmon and an apple and fennel salad and a dill creme fraiche. A delightful way to start the day.

Potato and Chorizo Omelette - $15.50

C ordered the omelette as above, and I stole a taste. Nice flavours in the omelette, and again, visually very appetising. The homemade relish was delicious.

Jess’ Ratings

Taste: 8. Good, clean flavours, making use of fine, fresh produce. Didn’t blow my mind, but not much to fault.

Value: 7.5. Not cheap, though nothing is in Melbourne these days. Though the smoked salmon poached eggs were relatively pricey for brekky at $18, I got heaps of salmon.

Service: 7. Typical trendy hipster cafe. Service is not overly friendly, but not unfriendly.

Atmosphere: 8. Love the cafe, small, but high windows allow lots of natural light coming through. Cafe has a relaxed, lazy feel to it.

Overall: 8. Good breakfast in a nice cafe. Can’t go wrong. Try it!

For other reviews; breakfastblogBreakfast outepicure


Written by glutamatejess

May 28, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Demitri’s Feast

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Demitri’s Feast

141 Swan St
Richmond, 3121
(03) 9428 8659

Hours: Tuesday – Sun, 7:30am-5:00pm
Breakfast until 3pm

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So, I visited the Age Cheap Eats 2010 winner for the Best Breakfast Place in Melbourne 2010.

I love the Philosophy as stated on their website.

Greek food by a Greek guy
made with Melbourne’s freshest, seasonal, organic and free range products”

It was extremely busy, as the Demitri’s Feast had just been crowned the title for The Age Cheap Eats 2010 Best Breakfast last month. Fortunately the wait wasn’t too long, and we managed to secure a seat in the charming courtyard garden out the back.

How cute are the stools – made from olive oil tins! Clever, cute and environmentally friendly.

My dining companion ordered

Scrambled Eggs w. goat’s cheese feta and oregano roasted tomatoes on toast $13.5 (with extra bacon)

This consisted of a luscious pillow of scrambled eggs,  wonderfully soft and creamy, topped with herbs and fetta and sweet juicy roasted cherry tomatoes, still on the vine. All this lay on top of sourdough toast from Dench. I would say this dish gave me massive food envy, though as L pointed out, you can’t get food envy when you practically eat the whole thing. It was so delicious I think I ate more of it than she did.

I ordered the

Zucchini Fritters w. free range bacon, and oregano roasted tomatoes $14.5

Unfortunately, my dish could not invoke anything like  the dreams of floating in scramble-heaven that L’s dish could. The fritters consisted of grated fresh zucchini and fresh herbs (dill and mint I believe). The flavours were ok, however, texturally, the dish was gluggy and dry, and simply unpleasant to eat. The fritters were also very small, and served with bacon which was overcooked (L’s were cooked fine) and less tomatoes. It really needed something else on the dish that was moister, like poached eggs, cheese,  relish, or even butter. It really did not need the bread as it was already too dry. A real disappointment, I put part of it down to the cafe being very busy and struggling to cope, hence overdoing the dish.

Taste: 7/10. Massive thumbs up for the scrambles, points off for the fritters. Can’t wait to try the baclava french toast that everyone raves about.

Authenticity: 9/10. Simple, but good Greek food by a Greek guy. Showcasing some hearty home-cooked style Greek food.

Ambiance: 9/10. Love the philosophy, love the concept, love the use of recycled goods, from the tins converted into stools to the cardboard menus. Real family ambiance.

Service: 9/10. Fantastic. A bit slow, but the staff were extremely attentive and apologetic for the delay (which wasn’t any more than what one would normally experience on a Saturday around lunchtime). Super friendly.

Value: Well priced for the scrambles, serving was large and quality was excellent. Fritters were small for the price. Coffee

Overall: 7.5/10. Can’t wait to go back and try the rest. Even though the fritters were supremely average, just goes to show that good service and great atmosphere really does make your food taste better.

Written by glutamatejess

April 7, 2010 at 1:33 am

Auction Rooms

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Auction Rooms

103-107 Errol Street
North Melbourne VIC 3051
(03) 9326 7749

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Auction Rooms on Urbanspoon

Auction Rooms is a cafe that I’m quite familiar with as I’ve been going there regularly since its opening in 2008. Since then, it’s come a long way, both food menu and coffee roast-wise. Back in the old days, Auction Rooms (given that it occupies an old Auction House) used to have a very auction inspired menu with names of dishes such as ‘opening bid’, ‘counter bid’, ‘shady bid’, etc. These have given way to new dishes, some of which are much improved on the old ones. One of these newbies is the Smoked trout with a poached egg, and bubble and squeak. A delicious dish that has a rustic English flavour to the name but that is surprisingly elegant, despite perhaps a little too much olive oil. The richness of the trout doesn’t overpower the ‘bubble and squeak’, and the single poached egg seems to complement the dish perfectly.

Coffee-wise, Auction Rooms roast its own under the name Small Batch. They have two mini-roasters on site and one 12kg roaster off-site (but nearby) allowing them to play around with different blends and single origins quite a bit. I had a strong latte in their regular blend which was good, solid, with coffee cutting through the milk well and fairly balanced. I also had an espresso in their Costa Rican Finca La Pira which had a strong body of chocolate and malt, a very pleasant coffee. I’d like to add that the latte had a pretty decent rosetta in it, impressive latte art for a random pour served to a random punter.

All in all, I feel the Small Batch roast has come a long way since its inception and I was fairly impressed. If you haven’t been here yet, now is a great time to head over, these guys may well be doing big things and very soon.

PS. Check out our fellow food blogger reviews here and here.

Alex’s Review

Food Taste: 8/10.

Coffee Taste: 9/10.

Service: 8/10.

Ambience: 8/10. I’ve always been a fan of the whole exposed brick, warehousey, airy, wood-panel-based, roofbeam thing that Melbourne does so well.

Overall: 9/10. One of Melbourne’s best.

Three Bags Full

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Three Bags Full
56 Nicholson St, Abbotsford
(Cnr Nicholson & Mollison Sts)
(T) 9421 2732

(PS. Don’t go to http://www.threebagsfull.com.au like I did, they’re suppliers and manufacturers of top quality sheepskin and equestrian products. Right.)

Three Bags Full is the new cafe from the team that brought you Liar Liar in Hawthorn and based on those credentials (and not much else it seems but word of mouth) some serious serious buzz has been generated. I’d been hearing stories about this place packing out regularly. Nick from Broadsheet had to wait for 20 minutes in line for a seat six days after it opened, no mean feat for a cafe. Even the baristas weren’t prepared for the smashing they received, and all this at a time when you wonder whether this city can accommodate yet another specialty coffee outlet (in an industrial style, as usual it seems). The answer to that wondering is a resounding, Obama-style YES WE CAN.

The cafe is decked out in what we’ve come to expect. Mazzer Roburs, 3 group Synesso, Pour Over cups/filters and a Clover (this is a bit of a coup these days, so difficult to hunt one down since the company was bought by Starbucks). The decor is the same industrial, warehousey, gutted old building feel that we’ve come to know and love from such usual suspects as Seven Seeds, Auction Rooms and St. Ali. The coffee menu features a selection that includes their house espresso blend and several single origins offered through either the Clover or by Pour Over, all roasted by WA-based 5 Senses coffee in Cheltenham.

Coffee-wise, to start I had a strong flat white in the house blend. It included some adequately executed latte art (nice to see that despite how busy they were, the barista was still prepared to serve me something that looked interesting). I’m not sure what milk they’re using but it was lacking a little in texture, the mouthfeel wasn’t as pleasant as with the milk used by Seven Seeds for example. Nevertheless, the espresso came through the milk ok and was pleasant and fairly well balanced.

The single origin on offer through the Clover was the Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, a bean that most people who taste coffee would be very familiar with. A washed coffee, the one we tried was particularly light on body, and it was a little too much on the sour/acidic side for me with a lot of orange coming through in the aroma and flavour. Jamie, the head barista, let us preview some of the Sidamo (another Ethiopian bean) that they had sitting out the back, a dry processed coffee, this one was much more pleasant to drink, more full-bodied and with a lovely earthy taste to it with a hint of berries.

The food menu was pretty impressive, a full page for breakfast (all day) and a full page for lunch. I had the smashed avocado, served on bread with fetta and pinenuts pumpkin seeds, Jess had the cauliflower fritters with halloumi and kasundi. Both dishes tasted good but not perfect, I felt my avocado could’ve been a bit more ‘smashed’, there should’ve been more fetta and the pinenuts pumpkin seeds didn’t necessarily mesh well with the rest of the dish. I also wasn’t a huge fan of the kasundi, but that could be because kasundi isn’t really a breakfast thing for me.

Nevertheless, overall, an excellent start for Three Bags Full, a commitment to coffee, good food, good service and good design, something we’ve come to expect here in Melbourne from our cafes and something we’re increasingly getting more and more consistently.

Alex’s Ratings:

Food Taste: 7/10 still some imperfections with the execution but the menu looks great and as it’s honed over the coming months it should improve a great deal.

Coffee : 8/10 with considerations given for the varied menu, all executed quite well.

Service: 7/10 still a little on the slow side with food and the strain was definitely visible, but carried off well overall

Ambience: 9/10 a great fit-out, attention to detail with bright yellows adding some spark to the warehouse feel, and a variety of seating options including a communal table, individual tables, booths and even a small side room with a big table for a larger party.

Overall: 8/10


Jess’ Rating:

I love love love this place! In a beautiful building, I love the way they’ve fitted it out with a warehouse feel. The plants in the windows are a cute touch, and the teacup light fixtures are adorable.

I really enjoyed my cauliflour fritters, Alex doesn’t do tomato in the morning, I don’t do avo or cream in the morning – but my kasundi perfectly complemented the fritters and the whole dish truly did hit the spot created from a night of drinking too much.

Food Taste: 8/10. There were so many things on the menu we wanted to order! Loved my fritters.

Coffee : 9/10

Service: 9/10. I don’t mind slow service, provided it’s warranted. Each dish seemed well thought out and carefully placed together. Food cooked with love. The staff were super friendly too, and came over to chat to us more about the coffees they had on offering.

Ambience: 9/10. Like I said.. . love love love it!

Overall: 9/10

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