Cafe Hopping Around Melbourne: This is…Breakfast Indigestion 3!
One word can describe this post: gluttony- in its purest form. And you know what? I’m not at all ashamed. Rather than bar hopping, I went cafe hopping around Melbourne!
It’s been a longtime coming since my last Breakfast Battle post, but no need to fret. I recently had a bout of annual leave which meant I had the porkin pleasure of eating myself silly again. And boy did I ever. In two mornings, I managed to hit up 7 cafes- thank god for all day brekkie.
An adventure is not without its dramas, one of them being that my car had decided to konk out on the second day needing a battery replacement, which was a bleak moment. But that’s ok. I worked my little mode of transportation off too hard and if it weren’t for its sheer resilience, I would’ve gone without my precious breakfasts and I certainly wouldn’t be here serving it all up for you fine people. I may be a little sentimental -yes- but when it comes to my Breakfast Indigestion posts, I don’t mess around.
Breakfast has officially become my new dinner…on weekends anyway.
Forgive me for the image quality in some photos as I chose to dine without the use of the bulky camera!
Cafes my buds battled were:
Wee Jeanie, 50 Anderson St, Yarraville Phone: 03 9687 7187
Oaktree Cafe, 97 Burwood Road, Hawthorn Phone: (03) 9815 1429
Miss Marmalade, 126 Union Street, Brunswick, 3056 Phone: (03) 9388 8202
Odd Spot Cafe, 302 Melbourne Roa,d Newport 3015 Phone: (03) 9399 2241
Cumulus Inc, 45 Flinders Ln, CBD 3000 Phone (03) 9650 1445
Social Roasting Co, 307 Racecourse Rd, Flemington 3031 Phone: (03) 9372 3288
Cooper & Millas, 1094 High Street, Armadale 3143 Phone: (03) 9500 8127
Details: 50 Anderson St, Yarraville Phone: 03 9687 7187
Newly opened, Wee Jeanie, named after the Scottish song of the same name and a relative to another favourite The Cornershop- is located right next to Yarraville station. As you walk in, you can see the courtyard through the always opened door creating a sense of breathable space as do the amount of windows allowing the afternoon sun to peak through. The communal table is situated in the courtyard. It terms of fixtures, there are the usual kitschy items like the hanging lights held together with masonary jars and the snazzy water jugs.
The use of neutral tones around the bench area highlights their crown jewel – a brilliant green piece of machinery that churns out exceptionally made coffee (with the help of a great Barista) that is thick and creamy hitting you with a deep malty finish certainly deserving a round of seconds (Coffee Supreme). Smells so good too.
The menu here is short and sweet from sweet to savoury items. On offer, there are an array of impressive salads, the sweet stuff (cakes/muffins), toast and baked eggs with eggplant and kasundi. It isn’t the sort of place where you can get a hefty breakfast made up of poached eggs, bacon, baked beans, sausage and tomato. You can however take a geezer at the specials board. The day I went, they had avocado on toast with their signature kusundi relish or a broccoli and cauliflower quiche. If you want a substantial brekkie, head to their relative, The Cornershop just a few doors down. But, if you just want a good latte to go along with something light, then Wee Jeanie is your calling.
On recommendation, I had the Welsh Rarebit with my cappuccino. When they say there’s cheese, they mean it. Laden with an abundance of cheese on two pieces of crunchy toast, I did find it tad bit too rich for my liking. Although, it may have been due to the fact that I had already eaten at two cafes prior! There were heavy hints of mustard, worcestershire sauce and beer which added to the overall thickness and spiciness. The bread was great though, making me want more but with butter and raspberry jam instead.
Zee Details: 97 Burwood Road, Hawthorn Phone: (03) 9815 1429 Trading: Monday – Friday: 7:30 AM – 3:00 PM
Literally across the from my work, it makes me tear up inside to have a great eatery so close by. One thing amongst the many things Oaktree is un-freakin believable for are their generously sized chewy White Choc Macadamia Nut Cookies that smell like grandma’s kitchen that you may have seen star in previous twitter posts. It does seem so long ago since my last cookie, like ‘age of innocence gone by’ long.
The other thing that they’re excellent at is their smashed avocado. Admittedly, I’ve had countless smashed avocados around the Melbourne café scene but so far, no one does it better than Oaktree. It could be the luscious and perfectly ripened forest green avocado, the right amount of tangy lemon rind throughout or the freshly shaved parmesan. Texture wise, the roquette acts a pillow of softness against the crunchy sourdough bread. So brilliant yet so damn simple. One tip though, I prefer keeping it simple by requesting it minus the balsamic dressing.
Ever wondered where to get a killer chicken salad? Well, they’ve got that too. The dressing is so light- it combines three of the Asian essentials of sweet, sour and salty.
The chicken – pan-fried and slightly charred. The greens, beautifully presented tasting like they had just been picked. It’s the sort of salad where you want to take your time eating. It’s delicate, modern and full of flavour. Refreshing even.
Oaktree has a suburban charm, not giving into the cookie clutter industrial-esque type cafés that seem to dominate the market. On the walls, you’ll find local artwork for sale, a fully visible kitchen hard at work, specials that change daily and a pinch of home-style hospitality.
Details: 126 Union Street, Brunswick, 3056 Phone: (03) 9388 8202
Off the beaten track we go and we end up at Miss Marmalade, located near RMIT Brunswick and right next door to another café. The uber cool place was actually inspired by the Owner’s (Tony and Robyn) daughter Pheobe whose hair has colours similar to a jar of marmalade. Love it. Coffee? 5 Senses. Is it good? Damn impressive. Did you order seconds? I would’ve but I was already freakin giddy from the amount of caffeine already gulped down that same morning. Anymore caffeine I’d end up like Kramer – busting through Seinfeld’s door five times a day eating all his cereal.
Initially sitting outside, I quickly took the opportunity to sit inside as soon as table was free due to the poor weather. Inside fared much better and was much happier being surrounded by a totally kitsch and quite cosy interior fitted with a large chalkboard at the rear with a drawing of their signature large teaspoon, exposed brick walls and to my left a whimsical display of cakes and macarons.
The Food? The food was glorious and worth the zig zag drive through the tiny streets to get there.
First up was the Free Range Scrambled Eggs that I chose to pimp up with spinach and their version of a roesti. The eggs were perfectly rich and slightly creamy in texture so it wasn’t too heavy whilst the spinach was nicely salted and thankfully patted down/properly drained so not to drown the poor toast in water.
Next to conquer was the Big Breakfast. What came with it? Oh my lordy, was I in trouble. Let’s see, there were two eggs, bacon, confit tomato, avocado, mushrooms, chorizo, house made relish and toast. *GULP*
What’s to rave about? The relish was gone in 60 seconds. I refrained from asking for seconds for the fear of complete gluttony. Also gone in 60 seconds was the coffee with it’s lip smacking subtle tones of citrus and a killer aroma to boot.
Odd Spot café
Details: 302 Melbourne Roa,d Newport 3015 Phone: (03) 9399 2241
As the name suggests, Odd Spot café is located in well, an odd spot. I’ve driven past many times but have never taken notice. It could be due to the fact that it’s situated on a bustling main road so rather than looking out for cafes, I find myself focusing on not being side swiped by the oncoming trucks that frequent the area. Blasphemy I know. Nonetheless, I’m glad I discovered this jewel. It’s not the kind of café that’s trying to be cool or kitschy, it is what it is: a local café serving up quality food without any fuss. The staff so have uniforms are very efficient at what they do.
The food and atmosphere is on point – think locally sourced fresh ingredients and hard working kitchen staff visible from the dining area keeping the morning buzz afloat. There are also freshly baked goodies on the counter that seem to call your name! It’s like they know me so well. Another uber fly touch worthy of a mention is the water jugs or should I say, the Absolut Vodka bottles.
I ordered the salmon, with poached eggs on toast…of course. The eggs were done quite nicely and didn’t drown the toast with any excess water. The toast was slightly on the burnt side but other than that, it served as a great hangover cure and came with a hunk ‘O’ butter.
My sweet tooth was burning with desire. To keep it at bay, French Toast was in order. My only qualms about the crispy edged thick slices of egg dipped bread was that there wasn’t enough maple syrup. You see, mopping up all the syrup with each piece is like housework only way more enjoyable. A job I would gladly do anytime…unlike ironing. On the plus side, there were not two but three generous slices.
If you live in the vicinity of Williamstown and Newport, then I’d suggest heading down to Oddspot Café for your weekend brunch. They also do a few more than a few vegetarian options which include a veggie burger with beetroot jam (yum!) and pumpkin salad with ginger dressing.
Details: 45 Flinders Ln, CBD 3000 Phone (03) 9650 1445
I may be the last blogger in town to eat at Cumulus Inc. I swear, there must be at least 40 reviews around Google town. The main reason I hadn’t made it down was the fear of the dreaded queues on a weekend to get a table – so when a weekday off presented itself, I was there like Dave Chapelle on crack.
The place itself is pretty chic with open spaces. Upon entering, to the right is the open kitchen nicely fitted out with an elegant white marbled working bench with most of the staff within the Gen Y bracket. The crowds you’ll find grazing here on a weekday are mainly suits. If you’re lucky, you won’t find yourself surrounded by loud corporate meetings talking about how they can potentially swindle some client from a competitor or to my left, how they can poach staff from a competitor.
Smoked Salmon 65 /65, sorrel, apple and dill
When asked what salmon they used, the waiter blurted out the words I’ve been waiting to hear for a long time: Tom Cooper Salmon. Replete Providore and Proud Mary also include the TC range on their menus. It may expensive but stocking this premium brand really it does make a difference to the overall dining experience, even in a small way.
No doubt that the array of granny smith apple pieces, the underrated sorrel and fragrant dill went so deliciously well with the salmon. The best part? The intricately poached egg that gushed out that thick, golden yolk making you wanna lick your lips in glee.
I couldn’t leave without hooving down their infamous Lemon Madelines. Baked fresh to order, the edges are crisp, the insides so buttery and the lemon curd..oooh oooh oooh the lemon curd was so sexy with its smooth and sweetly soury notes. The table of lovely ladies next to me busted me ordering a second round and laughed hysterically. By the time I left, they too ordered seconds!
Admittedly, I came back the next day for the you guessed it, the salmon, but they ran out! *whimper* So I opted for the Shakshouka- baked eggs with roasted peppers and Persian feta cheese that made use of the large piece of sourdough when it came to scooping up the rich tomato.
Social Roasting Co
Details: 307 Racecourse Rd, Flemington 3031 Phone: (03) 9372 3288
Next off the rank was Social Roasting Co, located near my hood. Known for their excellent hand roasted beans as pictured below, I didn’t hesitate on gulping down a cup of these delicious bastards.
Lately, I’ve had a craving for anything served with Kasundi- most likely due to the baked eggs at The Cornershop. The sweet and spicy notes combined with a yolky egg on a bed of toast somehow, gets me all atwitter. I could eat this stuff by the jar.
(New word warning: atwitter meaning getting oneself all excited over small and at times, frivolous details)
For the standard portion of le brekkie, I ordered the big breakfast. The crimson red tomatoes were ‘burst in your mouth’ succulent as were the very nicely done plus generously sized scrambled eggs. If you’re hungry and hungover, this meal would be your best friend for the next 15 minutes.
In terms of the fit out, there’s a little nook at the rear for some alfresco loving but don’t expect to fit 20 of your dear friends for the fear of borderline claustrophobia. Inside, the menu is written on the massive chalkboard. Despite having the menu in my hands, I couldn’t help but glance at the chalkboard looking like I needed a pair of glasses, hoping that there would be some sort of surprise in store. There wasn’t.
Cooper & Milla’s
Details: 1094 High Street Armadale, 3143 Phone: (03) 9500 8127
In the inner east of one of Melbourne’s most expensive areas, I find myself sipping lattes with a mixed crowd from the poodle loving pretentious to the Gossip Girl groups of the eastwick along the trendy array of shops that line up High Street. Cooper & Milla’s, more known for their signature salads, also serve a mean brekkie. On a nice day, I’d suggest sitting outside if available. The interior is nice, but leans towards a more fine dining experience rather than a casual Sunday brekkie wearing shorts and thongs.
By this point in the post, should I really be telling you what I ordered? The below picture will tell that I clearly seem to be on some sort of a smoked salmon binge! I just can’t help myself. So you know, they do a stunning smoked salmon and their brightly yellow scrambled eggs are fluffy and surprisingly light and creamy.
Come to papa…
The array of pastries and other sweet stuff are all baked in-house so it would’ve been an absolute crime if I didn’t at least try one item. I caved. Lemon Tart please!
The curd was rich and tangy but not tooth achingly sweet, awakening my taste buds with it’s zingy bursts.
From the east to the west, I travelled up and down the back streets of Melbourne. I was supposed to stop at six cafes but was tempted by the recently opened, Wee Jeanie. I had no excuse not to pay a visit being a local and all!
Best Coffee? Miss Marmalade
I would come back for the…Lemon curd Madelines at Cululis Inc
You gotta try…the lemon tarts at Cooper & MIlla’s
Best Smoked Salmon? Cumulis Inc
Best Poached egg? Cumulis Inc
Best smashed avocado? Oaktree Café
A café where you can stay for hours? Wee Jeanie
All cafes featured were Rehab-Worthy. So um, have you got a brekkie joint to recommend?
- Wee Jeanie, 50 Anderson St, Yarraville Phone: 03 9687 7187
- Oaktree Cafe, 97 Burwood Road, Hawthorn Phone: (03) 9815 1429
- Miss Marmalade, 126 Union Street, Brunswick, 3056 Phone: (03) 9388 8202
- Odd Spot Cafe, 302 Melbourne Roa,d Newport 3015 Phone: (03) 9399 2241
- Cumulus Inc, 45 Flinders Ln, CBD 3000 Phone (03) 9650 1445
- Social Roasting Co, 307 Racecourse Rd, Flemington 3031 Phone: (03) 9372 3288
- Cooper & Millas, 1094 High Street, Armadale 3143 Phone: (03) 9500 8127
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