eggswithsides

Truman Cafe

As far as eggswithsides is concerned, a Melbourne brunching venue couldn’t come from better pedigree than our perennial fave, St Kilda’s The Galleon. So upon spotting some familiar faces from the ‘Gall on our first visit to Truman in Albert Park, our expectations and appetites skyrocketed. 

Positioned on the thoroughfare of Kerferd Road, the endless stream of cars whizzing past makes for a slightly flustered outdoor dining experience and one best indulged in only if you have a canine sidekick out for breakfast with you. But once indoors, Truman holds a pleasant charm.

There’s a huge menu, with well-conceived breakfast choices including chipotle baked beans, rosemary roasted mushrooms and a haloumi brekky featuring a pumpkin, leek and sesame-seed smash. The standard sweet option of french toast is livened up by honeycomb and candied pistachios to accompany it. We tried the corn fritters and the “truman brekkie” of scrambled eggs, hash, relish and avo. Both were great meals and good value portion sizes. The coffee was spot-on, and whilst not the most intimate place, Truman has a lovely vibe. We’ll be back.  

The Brew: 8

The Grub: 8

The Mood: 7.5

Truman Cafe on Urbanspoon

Common Ground L.E.S

Right in the heart of the bagel belt, Carlisle Street’s Common Ground L.E.S is a low-key haunt that’s part of the ever-increasing Common Ground Coffee Roasters empire. True to form, the “small-batch, artisanal” roasted coffee is the main drawcard, with the short and sweet menu crafted to provide a quick-fix bite to accompany your caffeine hit. 

Showing off its Lower East Side inspiration, bagels are the signature dish on offer. Choose from a “shmear” of creamy egg salad, chilli beans, a cheese and tomato toastie, or a cured ham and sauerkraut special for a cheap and cheerful snack. It’s not fancy, but it hits the spot. 

If you’re going easy on the carbohydrates, porridge, bircher and the ubiquitous “superfood granola” are also available. There’s an expanded bagel menu for lunch, and in addition to borscht and blintzes you can dose up on the “Jewish penicillin” of chicken soup too. 

L.E.S isn’t a destination for gourmet group dining, but it’s a sweet little spot to pull up a stool and indulge in a bagel and a latte whilst reading the paper. Be sure to buy some freshly roasted beans to take home while you’re at it too.   

The Brew: 9

The Grub: 7

The Mood: 7.5

Common Ground L.E.S on Urbanspoon

Mitte

It is trite to say that Melbourne’s inner north is spoiled for choice when it comes to brunching options. After all, there’s barely a backstreet that doesn’t host a terrace-house-turned-cutesy-cafe for the locals to roll up to on their fixie bikes for a double espresso. With so many spots on offer it takes something truly special to stand out from the crowd, but luckily for the eggswithsides crew, North Fitzroy’s Mitte does just that. 

image

We dined al fresco on a recent visit, the quiet street-side providing a relaxing ambience for brunch. Each of the poached eggs combos was outstanding -  the smoked salmon option came with a tangy salad of apple, fennel and capers with some rich creme fraiche to balance out the flavours, and the warm chickpea bake with feta, salad and avocado was also a winner. There are all the usual brekky choices too, but the eggs are too good to pass up.    

image

Great coffee, fabulous food and a hip but friendly mood make Mitte an all-round top spot. If you don’t live nearby, make the trek - it’s worth it - and if you’re a local, jump on your fixie and pop ‘round as soon as you can. 

The Brew: 8.5

The Grub: 9

The Mood: 8

Mitte on Urbanspoon

It’s happened. Finally. After close to three years of tireless brunching, we’ve given out our maiden perfect score. We scoured high and low, and we wouldn’t bestow it unless it were truly deserving. And this morning, it was.

Two Lost Boys, tucked into a Windsor backstreet has been going for a little while now. It seems to rate very highly amongst the brunch/blog-osphere, so we were keen to jump on the bandwagon. 

The space is medium sized, cool without being pretentious and bump-in factor is low. There was no wait for a table, which we were shown to by an unusually happy waiter. Apparently the staff are getting hooked on something called coffee here.

The menu has lots of weekend favs, and some interesting concoctions such as sweet potato and beetroot fritters, with salmon carpaccio, spinach, horseraddish and walnut cream alongside a poached egg (pictured above). There’s no other way of saying it: this dish was spec-tac-ular. The egg: perfectly poached. The salmon: expertly cured. The fritters: sweet and textured. The walnut cream: unexpected and a delight. 

The coffee here is also wonderful - sweet, sour and bitter. A lively brew.

We weren’t expecting to be blown away, but we were. Thank you Two Lost Boys. We feel found. Oh, and if you’re one of those pretentious and boring people who hate the ‘southside’ for no reason, you needn’t worry — Windsor station is a few metres away for a speedy exit. No one will ever know you were here.

Go now. Go tomorrow. Go yesterday!

The Brew: 9.5

The Grub: 10 (a first for Eggs With Sides)

The Mood: 9

Two Lost Boys on Urbanspoon

We’re back and we’re back into it. Breakfast. Oh yeah. Where have we been? Eating lunch of something. We ventured to Commercial Rd eatery TALL TIMBER, from the guys that brought you the original Coin Laundry & Port Melbourne’s Station St Trading Co. Men in checkered shirts need only apply. 

We sat at the very large communal table. Bump-in factor at the table is low, but is high in the general cafe area. It’s also quite on the loud side, so make sure you bring your best voice with you. 

For me, the coffee here is a bit disappointing - it lacks character and complexity. It’s still very drinkable though. I just like my coffee the way I like it. I had the smashed peas on pumpkin toast with prosciutto, feta and a poached egg. The pumpkin toast was a welcome alternative to the ubiquitous sourdough but I think I ended up with a milder goat’s curd instead of feta, which caused the dish to lack a crucial saltiness. 

My brunching companion had the stunning looking kale, asparagus and green beans with poached eggs, goat cheese and toasted almonds. It was a triumph of flavour and texture and some of the other options on their menu look just as spectacular — including several sweet options like the fluorescent pears in bircher muesli. 

Worth a re-visit.

The brew: 6.5

The grub: 8

The mood: 7

Gas Eatery & Supplies

A long time South Melbourne favourite, Gas’ popular Moroccan influenced brekkies ensure there’s always a hungry horde waiting for a table on a Sunday morning. The signature dish - middle eastern eggs with haloumi in a pan - is rich and flavoursome, with a strong base of stewed tomatoes. The specials of the day, like the Parisian scramble, are another satisfying option for something a bit different. Strong and consistently good coffee seals the deal on an all-round winning breakfast.

image

On the downside, Gas is a cramped little space with a VERY high bump in factor and is not well suited to anybody not happy to perch on a stool at the long share table or bar space. The bathrooms are upstairs too, so it is definitely not wheelchair accessible. Best to stick to a party of two chatting over lattes when choosing to dine at Gas. Whilst the space poses some accessibility hurdles, it’s a light-filled little spot with a vibrant mood. There’s a fantastic deli selection so be sure to pick up something to take home for lunch (and dinner!) too. 

The Brew: 8

The Grub: 8.5

The Mood: 7

Gas Eatery & Supplies on Urbanspoon

Follow the Leader

Pop quiz: name the first three things that come to mind as prerequisites for a successful inner Melbourne cafe? Specialty coffee roasted on-site, artfully tattooed surly waitstaff and a graffitied interior with lots of exposed brick, perhaps? How refreshing, then, to stumble across a spot like Ripponlea’s Follow the Leader that offers up nothing more than good food, good service and a leisurely mood with none of the hipster adornments. 

Lined with no-fuss two person tables that the staff happily push together for bigger parties, the cafe is narrow yet spacious. In addition to eggs with an enormous array of sides options, the menu lists less common treats like challah french toast with raspberry coulis. We sampled the baked eggs with red chilli mojo and chorizo, and the sweet potato hash with eggs, spinach, fetta and hollandaise. Both dishes received a big tick of approval, although the serving of hash was on the smaller side and could have benefited from an extra hash brown to soak up the rich flavours of the accompaniments.   

Follow the Leader might not be the trendiest place in town, but it’s the perfect spot to head to with your parents and be assured that you won’t need to shout over house music thumping in the background. Reliably good. 

The Brew: 7

The Grub: 7.5

The Mood: 7.5

Follow the Leader Cafe on Urbanspoon

The St Kilda Dispensary

image

The St Kilda Dispensary has several big ticks to its name. It’s cute, ambient, has a delightful decor reminiscent of an apothecary with on-trend light fittings, and a menu boasting dishes that teeter around the rarely seen $10 mark. It’s kid-friendly and offers a laid-back refuge from the endless traffic streaming past on Brighton Road. 

Yet despite these points in its favour, The St Kilda Dispensary doesn’t hit the very high benchmark demanded of a top brunching spot. Whilst its heart is in the right place, the coffee is timid and the breakfast fare not quite up to scratch. 

image

After ordering the corn fritter special, it was disheartening to be presented with a soggy corn ‘cake’ instead. Likewise, the delicious-sounding goats cheese and spinach baked eggs proved too dry to be coupled with slabs of toast. A rethink of the menu with bolder flavours and accompaniments would be worthwhile. 

The St Kilda Dispensary is still in its early days and may be ironing out the culinary kinks that come with working in a tiny kitchen to keep budget-conscious diners happy. It’ll be worth a second try once it does. 

image

The Brew: 5.5

The Grub: 6

The Mood: 7.5

The St Kilda Dispensary on Urbanspoon

De Clieu

image

A old-timer in the Melbourne cafe scene, Fitzroy’s De Clieu is brought to you by the good folk responsible for the legendary Seven Seeds. Whilst these caffeinated siblings have recently parted ways, new ownership hasn’t stopped De Clieu from dishing out the fresh menu offerings and trademark Seeds’ brew its long been famous for. 

Occupying prime Gertrude St real estate, De Clieu sources a steady flow of coffee drinkers from the foot traffic ambling past, all keen to perch on the exterior windowsill cradling an espresso in hand. The breakfast menu is slim but adequate featuring buckwheat muesli and granola for the health nuts, pancakes with fresh figs and marscapone to satisfy those with a sweet tooth, and corn fritters or eggs-with-sides if you just want to play it safe. A generous serving of the smashed green peas with mint and danish feta on quinoa and sourdough toast proved a smart choice. Opting to add a (perfectly) poached egg on the side provided a rich balance to the light tang of the peas, the spread proving a colourful and satiating morning meal.  

image

If you’re sticking round for lunch, there’s a small selection of sandwiches and salads on offer and the coffee and cake being churned out at all times of the day are stellar. 

De Clieu does have a bit of a habit of turning its four-seater tables into shared dining spaces, so be warned if you’re after an intimate brunch for two that it might be hijacked by eavesdroppers. Other than that, it’s a steady, never-fail spot.

The Brew: 9

The Grub: 7.5

The Mood: 7.5

De Clieu on Urbanspoon

Gardiner and Field

image

In the short while that it has been open, Gardiner and Field has introduced a new kind of cool to the previously stuffy Armadale cafe scene. Top coffee, homely produce for purchase and a relaxed vibe make this an ideal place for a casual brekky and the kind of venue where you could happily bring a friend, a lover or even your grandma. 

The menu changes seasonally and each reinvention is more inspired than the last offering up excellent plates like the shakshuka feast of baked eggs, kielbasa and roti, and the corn fritter combo that we eagerly polished off on this visit. These fancy options are hearty, not pretentious, and there are more simple dishes too. 

image

The cute former milk-bar digs are welcoming on the outside and light, bright and super-spacious on the inside with a very low bump-in factor. Gardiner and Field has turned the familiarity of a cornershop into the perfect local. Pop down and try it soon. 

The Brew: 8.5

The Grub: 9

The Mood: 9.5

Gardiner and Field on Urbanspoon

Friends of Mine

image

Brunching in Melbourne tends to be a pretty laissez-faire affair. Everyone moves at a Sunday pace all week long and the urge to turn over tables feels secondary to ensuring that the clientele dine in whatever leisurely manner they please. Not so at Richmond’s Friends of Mine where breakfast means such serious business that you could be forgiven for thinking you were eating on the production line of a factory. 

That’s not to say that Friends of Mine makes for an unpleasant cafe choice. It’s perfectly fine here. The food and coffee are both decent, the cavernous interior has been smartly carved up into a number of discrete dining spaces, and the service shows off that business-like efficiency. 

We stuck with our regularly favoured menu choices on this one. House smoked salmon on a corn pikelet with creme fraiche and an egg was a solid dish, as was the smashed avocado, mushroom and feta combo. The ‘Pick. Me. Up. Please’ was a tiny treat of bacon, chutney and cheddar on a brioche roll and is a nice option for something more bite-sized. The menu boasts everything you’d expect - and not much that you wouldn’t - although it’s not often (if ever!) that you see Berocca on the beverage list. A nice touch that’s surely appreciated by those who’ve had a big night out prior to stumbling to brunch. 

Friends of Mine is more than ok, but there’s nothing that makes it particularly special. It’s cash only too - so be sure to come prepared. 

The Brew: 7

The Grub: 7.5

The Mood: 7

Friends of Mine on Urbanspoon

This week on America’s Next Top Model we ventured to Station St Trading Company in Port Melbourne. From the team that brought you the critically acclaimed Coin Laundry (see earlier post), Station St Trading Co is - you guessed it - on Station St, tucked away on a corner opposite a park. You might think such a location would see it filled with swarms of weekend sporting types. But it’s not. Perhaps its relatively small size and seating capacity means that it’s not suitable for large families with dogs, kids and prams. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! Sometimes, you just want a quiet spot to relax in. And this is the place for that!
The menu is small, but it has all the standard build your own options. I was a bit of a sook this wekeend, and just went with my usual salmon and avocado concoction (pictured). The salmon was of very good quality, as was the dreamy avocado and goat cheese mash — a smoother alternative to the obligatory avo/feta mash that seems to have been adopted by every cafe in town!
I must make mention of the unique breads on offer. My breakfast came with a pumpkin and seed sourdough, adding an unexpected element to the dish. Sometimes good sides and good bread is all you need! 
The Brew: 8.5
The Grub: 8.5
The Mood: 8.5

This week on America’s Next Top Model we ventured to Station St Trading Company in Port Melbourne. From the team that brought you the critically acclaimed Coin Laundry (see earlier post), Station St Trading Co is - you guessed it - on Station St, tucked away on a corner opposite a park. You might think such a location would see it filled with swarms of weekend sporting types. But it’s not. Perhaps its relatively small size and seating capacity means that it’s not suitable for large families with dogs, kids and prams. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! Sometimes, you just want a quiet spot to relax in. And this is the place for that!

The menu is small, but it has all the standard build your own options. I was a bit of a sook this wekeend, and just went with my usual salmon and avocado concoction (pictured). The salmon was of very good quality, as was the dreamy avocado and goat cheese mash — a smoother alternative to the obligatory avo/feta mash that seems to have been adopted by every cafe in town!

I must make mention of the unique breads on offer. My breakfast came with a pumpkin and seed sourdough, adding an unexpected element to the dish. Sometimes good sides and good bread is all you need! 

The Brew: 8.5

The Grub: 8.5

The Mood: 8.5

Station St Trading Company on Urbanspoon

MIXED BUSINESS

image

With such an abundance of top-notch brunching spots in Melbourne, it can be difficult for a cafe to crack the elusive category of becoming a true ‘fave’. For a new haunt to qualify in the ‘top 5’ it must possess not only an exceptional menu, but a somewhat transcendent ambience. Clifton Hill’s Mixed Business triumphs on all accounts. 

A lone saloon situated at the top of Hoddle Street, Mixed Business lives up to its name with Northcote mums, music students, and retired artsy couples sipping on their strong skinny lattes side by side. It’s a low-key spot; without a hint of pretension, and occupies a light, airy space with seating at both private and communal tables, or on a perched stool up at the bar. The back courtyard makes for perfect al fresco breakfast-ing when the weather’s nice too. 

image

Suggestions are offered up for your eggs with sides; the avocado, relish, and potato and rosemary rosti combination is a winning meld of sweet and tart flavours, and the salmon, pickled beetroot and creme fraiche plate is perfect for something with a little more kick. The baked mushrooms topped with crunchy hazelnuts is another top dish. The serves are generous and the range of both sugary and savoury options will ensure there’s something to satiate any craving. 

Mixed Business has planted itself firmly amongst our favourite spots. And with the pedigree of poached eggs that has come before it, that is no easy feat. 

The Brew: 7.5

The Grub: 9.5

The Mood: 10

Mixed Business on Urbanspoon

You needn’t worry. All those things you’re after in a breakfast cafe are here: large warehouse-like space, baristas with facial hair and floral shirts, and industrial styled light fittings. What more could you ask for? Some good food/coffee? What, are you out for breakfast or something? 

We recently ventured to The Petty Officer, on Victoria Avenue in Albert Park. It’s a newie, and quickly becoming a goodie. After a 2 minute wait, we were seated at a high shared table. I must make special note of the lovely waiter who awkwardly told the two girls who sat themselves down that we were actually there first! Perhaps he knew who we were…

The owners have clearly read the manual, and know that you can’t just serve feta, it has to be Meredith feta etc. The menu has all the favourites and build-your-own options. There are some interesting condiments like “bloody mary salsa” and “hazelnut dukkah” which I really wanted to try. 

But I went for the house-smoked ocean trout on potato croquettes, sautéed spinach, beetroot relish, preserved lemon yoghurt and a poached egg. Everything here was great. The beetroot relish has just enough tang and the lemon yoghurt brought it all together. I could have done with a bit more texture in the potato croquettes, but I guess that’s why they’re called croquettes and not rostis. That’s very much a matter of personal taste. My confidante had the baked eggs with spicy tomato, goats cheese and yes, that hazelnut dukkah. She enjoyed it very much!

The coffee is solid, not amazing. It’s also a little on the loud side, so make sure you belt it out like Delta when you’re rabbiting on about the past week to your friend(s).

The Brew: 7.5

The Grub: 9

The Mood: 8 

The Petty Officer on Urbanspoon

Two Birds One Stone

image

Part of the same coffeehouse family that brought us Three Bags Full and Liar Liar, Two Birds One Stone follows the current South Yarra trend of carving stylish eateries into the ground floor of slick office or residential buildings. The Scandinavian fit-out is modern, airy and devastatingly stylish; providing a range of seating options - booth, bar, private table or communal - if you’re lucky enough to be able to snag a seat.  

image

The menu reveals a penchant for detailed mixes of flavours; the standard avocado and feta mash is coupled with capers and radish to give it a unique tang, the yoghurt panna cotta with kaffir lime, fruit and a ‘nut cluster’ may sound pretentious but it tastes other-worldly. Roasted field mushrooms are perfectly paired with watercress and chive oil, and the smoked salmon omelette with beetroot relish and goats cheese truly benefits from the lightness of the house smoked fish that hasn’t just been ripped from a packet. It’s an impressive menu, and better value for your unavoidable $20 spend than most breakfast venues around.

If you’re pondering a visit to yuppie-ville, Two Birds One Stone is amongst the better cafes on offer.   

The Brew: 6

The Grub: 8

The Mood: 8

Two Birds One Stone on Urbanspoon