The Brunch, Brunch, Brunch Bootcamp! 10 Cafes, 4 days
Melbourne is being stalked by cafes. For reals. Everytime I turn the corner, I smell or hear coffee being grinded. I used to think it was skyscrapers that were taking over but seriously, cafes are an equal contender don’t ya think?! In fact, according to Geoff Parker, CEO at the Australian Beverages Council, Australians consume 1 billion cups of coffee outside the home every year. (source: dynamicbusiness.com.au)
As soon as us Melbournians see a glimpse of sun, we immediately break out our mangled flips flops that’s been suffocating under piles of muddy shoes and head out to do what we do best when we’re hungover as heyal, BRUUURRNNNCH. *laughs like Latoya Jackson*
My insides haven’t felt the flex of being overloaded with carbs since my last Cafe Hopping post and the last brekkie bootcamp , so I decided to spend my weekend and my annual leave to be exact, frantically driving around town cafe hopping. Mind you, I’ve been back to all the cafes featured several times to ensure consistency and to of course, pick from the better photos. Now, drop and give me ten pushups eat ten poached eggs whole soldier! Welcome to Brunch, Brunch, Brunch Bootcamp that literally ADDS to inches to your booty. You’ll end up with a donkey booty after this.
The Stables of Como
This gem is a ten minute drive from work. I was on the hunt for a) something new b) a place where we can sit out in the sun and c) a place with scones (mandatory!) and a quick word with my friend Google, The Stables of Como came up. The last time I was at the Como Gardens, was during the inaugural French Festival. All the pesky bees were a good sign that Spring had made its debut with all the flowers that surround the heritage house in full bloom. It was about a 20 minute wait for a table, so we went for a abit of gander, played crochet (I’m so crap at it!) and tried to spook each other out inside the massive Como House, especially around the narrow stairwells.
Seated outside, we were surrounded by oodles of poodles and pups. A splash of astroturf and a line of white umbrellas add to the summer vibe with patrons all vying for a table outside.
Inside, it gets better, especially if you’re seated right near the counter where a plethora of oldskool treats await from house made musk lollies, chocolate crackles (maaa preferred choice) to scones and other freshly baked goodies.
Their house smoked salmon with blinis (mini pancakes) which falls within their ‘smaller plates’ so it acted as a great starter. What made this dish standout was the popping Yarra Valley salmon pearls amongst the herby crème fraiche.
Moving onto the hefty items, I grabbed one of their ‘Doorstopper’ Sourdough Sandwiches, the Poached Happy Chicken with a choice of either a side of chips or salad. Take a wild guess as to which one I went with..
Don’t let the thought of a typical chicken sanga fool you, this was f.i.l.l.i.n.g. If you’re like me, you too will fill your sanga with hot chips! Do it. Chunky chicken with pieces of walnuts throughout working together to appease even the hungriest of peckish souls…just not me. In the mood for something sweet but healthy, I made an attempt at their Organic ‘Full of Grace’ berry granola (I blame Hardware Societe for this granola craving). YESS MAAM. I would have liked more of the amazing yoghurt drizzled with honey but I made do with the lil bottle of milk to keep things moist.
‘Gardeners’ breakfast – BIG breakfast of poached eggs, bacon, slow roasted tomato, avo and thyme buttered mushies. Note: my friend ate this!
Although I can’t resist the sight of oozing #yokporn, a change from poached eggs is a good thing once in a while especially when you’re presented with these golden folded eggs. In a word, stunning! I also grabbed a side of vegemite of course.
I’m a fan of Friends of Mine so I was relieved to find out that they were behind this project. So impressed by the place, this was the second visit in just four days!
This quaint cafe, who recently won Melbourne’s Best Small Cafe for this year’s The Age Good Cafe Guide is just a hot 10 minutes from work, so I’m seen digging into their signature cheesy toast on a weekly basis but what struck a chord this time round were a few menu addition including toasted soldiers! I swear, not enough cafes in Melbourne are including toasted soldiers in their menus. Admittedly, I have seen glimpses of it in the kid’s menu at some places but even then, I don’t have enough shame to order it!
Nothing beats crispy golden, buttered sticks dipped into bright orange yolk. What makes this extra special is the side of dukkah salt. Cheerio? Do it.
Whether I accidentally drove past or something, I totally forgot how I ended up at Small Victories. I thank the heavens above that I did. Majority of tables are inside but you’ll also find a decent row of tables out front where you can dog watch.
There were so many ‘Gosh this is so good’ moments had during the first visit that I’ve been going back on a weekly basis just for their lamb salad. Made with Poon lamb, it’s made up of a plethora of different textures, super fresh ingredients and flavours that epitomises the saying ‘this is healthy but dang this is so awesome.’ I can’t remember a time when I was excited about a salad. It needs an award. I also want the plate. Just saying.
A thing of beauty
The last time I had creamed corn in a brekkie was at Pillar of Salt and have been on a quest since. Let’s just say mission has been accomplished suckers! Baked eggs with sweet creamed corn and thick piece of lardo soldier. I would happily swap the bacon for another piece of lardo soldier that wrapped in lardo and yesssssssssss, dipped in bacon fat and grilled to a light crisp. This was no small victory, excuse the cringe-worthy pun.
Ending it all with waffles! Loved it but I prefer not to have all the fruit on top soaking up the waffles.
Station St Trading Co
Another cafe served sunny side up is Station St Trading Co, where you’ll find tables soaking up the sun along the perimeter of the cafe. Inside, there are a few Scandinavian style touches (see below) and minimalism in mind in an attempt to make use of the limited but air filled floorspace.
The coffee is excellent and so is the food. There’s something about a warm day that has me begging for smoked salmon so I customised my brekkie and opted for some on the side. Bright orange, it glistens against the sunlight just like at Coin Laundry (same owners!) WOOP!
I’ve been taking a break from my maple craze and have since been on a granola bender. I used to shudder at the very sight of cereal or granola but now that the warmer weather has set in, I can’t get enough of it especially when it comes with poached fruit from pears, raspberries and the king of poached fruits, rhubarb at Mart 130.
Don’t be fooled by the frontage. Yes, it still is a tram stop and conveniently so, but inside, Mart 130 is a fully fledged cafe decked out with all the necessary trimmings from your baked goodies (cherry pie cherry pie cherry pie!) temporarily living on the countertop to the sweet smell of coffee being grinded.
Sitting outside on the breezy deck overlooking the tennis courts and the lush greenery, a bowl of granola served with poached fruits was in order. For some reason, I keep thinking a bowl of granola is not going to fill me up so I also grabbed a plate of poached eggs on toast and snatched the jar of vegemite from the couple who had just left beside me – score! Yolk on a salty bed of melted butter and Vegemite anytime, anyplace babay.
Twenty Six and Espresso
Quirky and creative themed dishes have been making their way into cafe menus ala The Pour Kids and Twenty Six and Espresso, is no exception. I came across ‘The Russian’ – a very sleek combination of vodka and lemon house cured salmon tartare with a pasty poached egg to get messy with whilst taking sporadic sips of their excellent coffee. It also came with a shot glass of crème fraiche dill. It’s always a risk trying out new cafes these days due to the hype surrounding so many new establishments but The Russian (sorry, had to say it again), was playful and fresh managing to turn my dreary morning into a cheerful one.
Inside, there’s the usual communal table and surrounded by other tables available for up to four people. Along the walls are artfully placed items like hanging crates acting as magazine holders.
I’ve been wanting to go to The Farm Cafe for yonkers but I’m just never in that end of town. Fortunately, my car was due for its first service nearby, so I had no excuse!
The purely outdoor space on a sunny day is freakin glorious. It’s like living your dream life LIFE as you get your tan ON. The vibe here is great – from the friendly service, view of the animals roaming the nearby fields to warm breeze flowing through.
The sausage roll (that I’ve been back twice for), made with organic beef encased in a crisp, flaky pastry tasted like the homemade one’s my primary school used to make so this was finished in a hot three minutes. Their housemade relish is something to be proud of.
Another highlight was the ‘Tom’s Roll’ which has dude food written all over it. I opted for the extra fried egg in addition to the standard bacon, mayo, HP sauce and a side of potato crisps. Don’t be fooled in thinking they’re hot potato chips by the way…..like I did, though, it didn’t stop me from filling the roll with them LOL!
Fifty Acres, located towards the Punt Road end of Bridge Road, adds to the vast collection of cafes that now call Richmond home. Inside – designer touches with grey tones with splashes of yellow lighting against an exposed brick backdrop and thank gawd for round tables. Can I get a holla?! I don’t know what it is about me and new places, but for some crazy ass reason, I always order their smoked or cured salmon. Is that whack or what?! Just to prove how committed I am to the salmon crusade, keep scrolling my friend.
Dukes Coffee Roasters
My eyes fell out of their sockets when I saw the words ‘House cured New Zealand salmon’ on the menu.
Citrus cured NZ King Salmon with green olive tapenade
Although I’m not a huge fan of rye bread, I didn’t mind so long as it came with cured salmon but the staff were very accommodating as I opted for standard sourdough bread instead. Generous slivers of salmon were perfectly pinky orange, fleshy and beautifully cured retaining a good amount of moisture. I think I just figured out why I love ordering it – it goes so well with the – Dukes Coffee Roasters – coffee.
This was the second last stop. I ended up at The Botanical Gardens so I can go for a half attempt at walking The Tan to keep the indigestion at bay and then turned right around an headed to Cafe Domain next door.
Seeing all the fit people jogging right past just me made me wanna barf.
I’ve just about exceeded my quota for poached eggs by this point so I opted for the Chilli Poppin Daddy – another creatively named menu item I just had to have. High five to the mountain of golden scramble combined with a hefty dose of chilli, semi dried tomatoes and sliced chorizo all stacked up on sourdough. I kept scooping up the side of fiery chilli sauce with every bite.
South of Johnston
Oki. By this point, I did not have any room for any poached eggs, fried eggs, baked eggs or any other savoury item for that matter. The sight of an egg was making me wanna hurl. I did, however, have room for cherry pie and you know who does a mean cherry pie? South of Johnston, that’s bloody who! Now, assuming that there would be cherry pie available that day was a gamble but one I willing to take. At the back of my mind, I was thinking if they didn’t have any, then I’d opt for the lemon curb tart which is just as superb.
naaaaaw…..I got to sit down next to this cutie.
Love it when eateries grow their own herbs etc…
Much better than looking at plastic plants!
Just to make their cherry pie even more mind blowing is their vanilla bean dotted side of cream that is a dessert on its own. For reals. I was tempted to ask if I can have an extra serving to take home so I can sit on the couch, eat a bowl of cream whilst watching trashy TV. I have no shame.
<insert excuse> This was to make up for the fact that I didn’t get to eat Cherry Pie at Mart 130
And denn…no more!
It was so painful driving past groups of people doing an ACTUAL fitness bootcamp which is the total opposite to my brunch brunch brunch bootcamp. No doubt they would barf if they found out what I was up to.
So there you my fellow gluts, ten cafes, over four days. I used to be able to do eight cafes in 2 days but since I’ve gone weak been the taking the dog out for some serious ‘OMG kill me now’ runs, I’ve been using that as a resistance not to over burden my liver and my other internal parts that may or may not prolong my cherry pie filled life. Over inflating the stomach should only be permitted during Christmas. LIVER SAYS NO! For now… *laughs like Latoya Jackson again*
Want to see more cafe hopping action?
Zee DetailsThe Stables of Como (MAP)
Como House and Garden
Cnr Williams Road and Lechlade Avenue, South Yarra
(03) 9827 688
323 Lennox Street, Richmond
Small Victories (MAP)
617 Rathdowne St, North Carlton
(03) 9347 4064
Station Trading Co (MAP)
166 Station St, Port Melbourne
(03) 9646 6663
Mart 130 (MAP)
107 Canterbury Rd, Middle Park
(03) 9690 8831
Twenty Six and Espresso (MAP)
594 Queensberry St, North Melbourne
(03) 9329 0298
The Farm Cafe (MAP)
18 St Heliers Street, Abbotsford
(03) 9415 6581
Fifty Acres (MAP)
65 Bridge Rd, Richmond
(03) 9421 0296 Cafe Domain (MAP) 171 Domain Rd, South Yarra
(03) 9866 3120
South of Johnston (MAP) 46 Oxford St, Collingwood
(03) 9417 2741 So um, what’s your favorite brunch spot?
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Keep eating…LIKE CRAZAAY!