A Good Ol’ Brunch Brawl
Yes, you’re absolutely right. Couldn’t have said it better myself. You are a certified genius. I wish I had your intellect and stunning looks. OK…I’ll stop, so long as you’ll forgive me for the lack of posts over the last few months. I thought I’d also do abit of mind reading as well as I’m sure you’ve been thinking “WHERE DA BRUNCH POSTS BEEN AT?!” All good though, it’s not like I ever gave up brunchin’ or anything (I’m not insane) as evidenced through my Instagram feed. I was THIS close to writing up a recipe post but I thought it was only fitting I write something about brunch considering that’s exactly what I’m doing right now – picking up the dribble of yolk from my chin after devouring a poached egg whole and then realising that I’ve stained my new pair of jeans after tipping over my glass of green juice. Perhaps no one will notice…
Note to self – do not bring your darn laptop to a cafe because you should have known your species (yes, us men) cannot multi-task!
Now, onto the Brunch Brawl!
The Farm Cafe
Details: 18 St Heliers St, Abbotsford VIC 3067
Phone (03) 9415 6581
I’ve written about The Farm Cafe before, but I’ve been burning to tell you about this incredible fish pate I had the other day after a seriously loooooong walk around the trail surrounding the Studley Park Boathouse. It’s certainly not your typical Melbourne brunch dish but that’s exactly what made this standout. As soon as the weather starts to warm up, I always think of heading here – the open air, the food and the summer vibes the place just oozes.
The pate, made with mackerel and a generous squeeze of lemon was refreshing, subtle and not as fishy as I thought it would be as I lathered on some thick lashings onto the two slices of bread. I even started to just eat straight from the masonry jar. It’s probably only the second time I’ve ever had fish pate (try the stunning seafood boards at Medhurst Wines, Yarra Valley) and I got a feeling this is my new obsession.
Details: 182A Essex St, West Footscray VIC 3012
Phone:0439 318 820
I seem to be gravitating towards the specials board these days. I hardly look at menus instead, relying on either the hosts spiel and recommendations or simply turning my head exorcist style until a specials board has been spotted. Admittedly, it’s part laziness, part wanting to avoid seeing the dreaded ‘smashed avocado with goats fetta and chilli on sourdough’ on another menu.
Brother Nancy has been a godsend in the neighbourhood as locals yearned for a decent coffee. I still can’t believe there’s a cafe here after seeing friends grow up here in the 90’s. One thing hasn’t changed though – look both ways TWICE when crossing the road because cars and buses come outta nowhere fast. I ran like hell as a kid and still run like hell as an adult!
First things first – one thing I need you to be aware of are their cronuts. They are, well, insanely good. My favs to date have been the rhubarb and the salted caramel. Here’s a close up in yo face!
Now we can talk brunch. French fare is the game here and with a French chef heading up the kitchen, you can expect that staples like the Croque Monsieur along with the Croque Madame go down as one the best in Melbourne – so much buttery crunch with oozing bechamel.
One of their most creative dishes has to be one of their daily specials – cured egg, avocado, candied bacon, juicy tomatoes. The avocado’s core replaced with a beautifully cured egg (check it out!) and hats off to the candied bacon with the right balance of sweetness and crisp. I assume the bread was pan fried (?) with butter because I for once, didn’t ask for a side of butter. Did I mention that Cookie the Beagle also approved?
Details: 141 Maling Rd, Canterbury VIC 3126
Phone: (03) 9830 7915
If I not only end up at the same cafe week after week but end up getting the same dish 4 times in a row…I AM #KWAZEEOBSESSED
The weirdest thing about my latest obsession is that Between Us cafe is located on the other side of town. Usually that would be enough to put me off or at least, limit it to a one time visit but I’m telling you now, love is love. It has no boundaries. It all started with a random visit to Mailing Road in Canterbury – a total throwback strip of boutique shops and cafes I used to frequent back in the day – I felt like smoked salmon, so in we went.
I ordered the Salmon Bruschetta thinking it was gonna be a one layer of salmon on some smallish pieces of toast. Nahuh. Homeboy, not only is their smoked salmon fleshy and succulent, but dang, they’re also real generous with the serving too. It’s like I was at a buffet stacking layers upon layers of smoked salmon from the deli section just because I can. Perhaps this is meant to be a sharing dish but nope, no sharing here especially with that smooth dill creme fraiche.
Maillard Toast and Espresso Bar
Details: 2/347 St George’s Road, Fitzroy North
Toast ain’t toast until you’ve been to Maillard at Fitzroy North. I was hesitant thinking, gosh, how special can toast really get?! Wrong. It can be really special. Think toast paying homage to DOC Pizza with all the trimmings of San Danielle Prosciutto, San Marzano Tomato, mozzarella and basil or my favourite, Belgian butter, white anchovies with an impressive dusting of lemon zest and chilli exploding on the plate like playful art.
The winning formula isn’t just about what goes on top on the bread, but more importantly, how it’s so intricately prepared here and ahuh, the bread itself. Artisan breads supplied by Eds Breads (Potato) act as the perfect backdrop to the premium toppings. Perfectly airy, soft on the pallet with that subtle crunch that doesn’t need any sawing down with a knife.
The savoury items at just the right size, leaves room for more dessert! I can’t choose between Gianduia (Hazelnut creme), crushed hazelnuts and mascarpone or the tahini, honey and pistachio. Both are actually quite amazing so I went back to try both. I’m a super indulgent person and so naturally, I couldn’t go past the Gianduia the first time round as I was in desperate need of some decadence plus I’m a sucker for mascarpone.
It’s raining hazelnuts!
Hash Specialty Coffee Roasters
Details: 113 Hardware St, Melbourne VIC
Phone:0435 895 244
At a time when Hardware Society continues to clog up Hardware Street during weekend brunch hour, as droves of people wait for that coveted table, thankfully, there are now more great choices – bring on Hash Specialty Coffee Roasters. I was invited to try out their new menu that certainly verges on both experimental and downright moreish – take their fried foie gras sliders or even the Mork Hot Chocolate that comes with with towering cotton candy for a spin and you’ll see what I mean.
One of the standouts would definitively be the Leek and Cheddar Croquettes – fried up until golden and crisp, I took the liberty of using these gems to mop up all that sweet cauliflower puree. Without looking at the menu when this dish came out, at a glance, I thought the turmeric poached egg was butternut squash! It was pretty dark where were were sitting which may have further deluded our eyes. How awesome does that look though? Tasted good too (forgot to take an obligatory #yolkporn shot!). Poached eggs to another level.
Also noteworthy is the rice brulee pudding, one of the most gobbled down dishes that day – a dessert and brekkie in one!
Note: Food Rehab dined courtesy of Hash Specialty Coffee Roasters and Zilla and Brook PR.
Burnham Bakery and Piggery Cafe
Details: 1 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke VIC 3789
Phone: (03) 9021 2100
Taking my buddy Cookie the Beagle to Burnham Bakery and Piggery Cafe is a hoot because for some strange reason, he totally freaks out when he sees the pigs! Funniest thing ever. They love him to bits though. As soon as they spot or smell Cookie, they awake from their slumber and run towards him to sniff him out. Even when he howls in confusion and tries to runaway, the pigs are just so intrigued by him.
Also popular with the staff, they love to take snaps of Cookie chillin’ – he can be seen on their instagram page giving his wink of approval (below)!
Attention: Dog Owners – the awesome Shannon Bennett has got our backs. Check out the off lead dog park he created on the property to give your little pooch a bit of a stretch and sniff, just don’t forget to pick up yo shit!
We’ve been here a number of times to the point where we now have an ordering routine as follows:
- Round of lattes and flat whites
- Plain croissants warmed up with butter
- Charcuterie board
- Charcoal chicken platter with house nuggets and seasonal greens
You can’t go past the house baked croissants here. Am I the only one who still dips their pastry in coffee? People tend to give me the odd look or two but whatevs. One of my favourite past-times.
A glass of wine and a meaty Charcuterie board is the ultimate way to kick off Spring I say, although for me, the biggest highlight is dem soft yolky eggs. I try to keep these gems to myself offering a large portion of my meat stash in exchange for yolk ownership – sometimes this works, other times I use other forms of bribery. I’d usually break off the bread crusts and just dip away in contentment.
Equally as good is their juicy charcoal chicken platter. The house nuggets go down a treat but when teamed up with their seasonal fresh salads, it’s a winning combo – eggplant being my fav.
And denn no more. That about covers the last round of brunch dates I’ve had recently. Biggest highlights for me were the eggs – they got hella creative this year from the tumeric poached eggs at Hash Specialty Coffee and Roasters to the cured egg that replaced the core of an avocado at Bother Nancy. Very cool indeed. Ok bai.
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