Breakfast Thieves

I’m a public school boy from the UK, I grew up in a place called Swanland and enjoy nothing more than a cup of tea before bed. A Sunday involves a trip to the South Melbourne market, having brunch with friends and hopping in bed by 8.30pm to read The Age.

You probably wouldn’t call me ‘Edgy.’

So trips up to Brunswick and Fitzroy are always good fun for me, my inner quirkiness comes out; I throw on my mint coloured shorts and really let the dogs out.

This weekend we met some friends at ‘Breakfast Thieves’ in Fitzroy, an old chocolate The Leprechaunfactory converted into an uber-trendy hide-out for brunch goers. The place is decked out nicely and has a funky atmosphere. After the usual long black (they use STREAT beans), we ordered. My friends went for ‘The Leprechaun,’ roughly translated as corn fritters on rosemary roasted carrot puree, avocado-yuzu mousse, pickled cucumber pomegranate salad & poached eggs. This looked delicious and by all accounts didn’t disappoint; for reference it’s generally frowned upon to lean over and dig in without an invitation.

The LegendOur other friend ordered ‘The Legend,’spicy baked eggs with spanish chorizo, mushrooms, green peas, feta, served with herbed garlic toast; from a man that loves his eggs he claimed these were the best baked eggs in Melbourne… the boldest claim since Bieber claimed he’d beat the f**k out of a reporter.

DSC_0456I opted for the Spanish Gypsy Dance; Crisp-polenta crusted poached eggs, Spanish morcilla (black pudding), peperonata, wild rocket on toasted gluten free toast with a side of potato rosti. These were incredible, I love black pudding at the best of times and generally dislike polenta at the best of times, I find it boring and more work than it’s worth but together the black pudding and eggs were just beautiful.

Barring a couple of waitressing mistakes which were apologised more than necessary for, I couldn’t fault the meal. Everything was cooked beautifully and I enjoyed every mouthful… although maybe the gluten free chocolate brownie to finish with wasn’t needed (oomph)!

Price – 8

Quality of food – 9

Atmosphere – 9

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ISIT Cafe

It’s tennis season in Melbourne which means you can bet your last dollar on a few things that happen every year;

  • There will be hangovers
  • Bernard Tomic will let himself down on the court
  • Bernard Tomic will let himself down off the court

It’s the morning after the day before; a day of intense background tennis, multiple drinks and some 40 minute food queues and we decide to try out an eatery that we have heard about but never tried; Isit Cafe in Prahran, a witty name that Is(n’t) it?

DSC_0286We’re seated outside as it’s a nice day and my (albeit limited) attention is spent trying not to fall off the front step that my seat is precariously balanced on. I order a fresh orange and an iced chocolate which unfortunately is the best thing I do all day, the iced chocolate is like a stairway to heaven, a big hangover free heaven.

Unfortunately I ordered the Chorizo and smoked cheddar on seeded toast with poached egg, avocado, chipotle hollandaise and salsa, I was disappointed and heaven chewed me up, slowly opened and through me down to earth. Although on paper and the plate the whole meal looked like a dream, it had the finesse of a bull tap dancing in a china shop. i\It was seriously heavy, the chorizo and toast were dry and teamed with the hollandaise was a real struggle from start to finish.

Chorizo, Cheddar, Poached Eggs with Chipotle Hollandaise
Chorizo, Cheddar, Poached Eggs with Chipotle Hollandaise

Jax had the Chunky avocado & Persian feta with fresh chilli, mint & blistered cherry tomatoes on seeded toast, again this looked stunning and by all accounts was delicious. Verity had the Eggs Benedict with braised ham hock on a toasted english muffin & hollandaise, again, I stole some when she wasn’t looking and this too was great.

Chunky avocado & Persian feta with fresh chilli, mint & blistered cherry tomatoes on seeded toast
Chunky avocado & Persian feta with fresh chilli, mint & blistered cherry tomatoes on seeded toast

Maybe I ordered badly, maybe the chef had been at the tennis, maybe I was in the wrong frame of mind, but unfortunately it was an ‘It’s not’ from me.

Price – 7

Quality of food – 5

Atmosphere – 5

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St Ali – A turning point in a man’s life

There comes an important time in any man’s life when your attitude to a relationship St Ali roasted coffeechanges; this isn’t the first kiss, the introduction to their parents or even your wedding day. It’s actually the first day you share your food with your partner. As a young, naive boy I was always worried about someone stealing my share of food, I lived my life in the shadow of Joey Tribbiani’s ‘Joey doesn’t share food’ mentality; going out for Tapas was like the war on oil. Until one day there was an epiphany; what if she doesn’t like the dish? What if she gets full before me? What if she orders better than me? This was the day I started sharing food, and all was going well until St Ali.

I have a soft spot for St Ali as it’s one of the first places I ate at when arriving in Melbourne. It’s trendy warehouse feel, booming atmosphere and pioneering coffee (which they roast themselves) add up to a great experience.

In the spirit of sharing I ordered the Koo Coo Ca Choo – Crispy potato hash, mushroom duxelle, Koo Coo Ca Choopoached eggs, aged cheddar, stuffed flat mushrooms & truffle vinaigrette. As you will see this was a master-piece, for a moment I felt like I was in a bad chocolate commercial, mmm-ing and arrr-ing, reminiscent of a bad night in a hotel with paper thin walls in Echuca (different story, another time perhaps). The mushroom duxelle was beautifully rich (probably too rich for a lot of people I must admit) and the eggs were oozing all over my hash, I was on top of the world for half a dish… until it was whipped away and..

Jax’s Corn Fritters, halloumi, kasundi and poached eggs was slapped in front of me. This Corn Frittersis the problem with sharing; you have to share the good times and bad times and roll with your partners orders. This was that time, the very first time. The halloumi was good, the kasundi was delicious, light and fresh but the main event could have caused arguments. The ‘secret recipe’ corn fritters were stodgy, lacked flavour and there were too many for that consistency. After the second dish I was disappointed, I used to be able to eat what I liked in the days of a six pack and muscle definition, I walked out of St Ali feeling and looking like a pregnant Middle Park mother.

All in all, the coffee was incredible but the dishes were poles apart and not particularly cheap when compared with other similar cafe spots;

Price – 5.5

Quality – 7

Atmosphere – 9

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