Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Minor Place

A Minor Place is the sort of cafe you see as you go by and think "I must try that"; partly because there always seems to be loads of customers outside, on the tables in the street or at the deck round the side, partly because it's essentially an old house turned into a cafe, and partly because it's clearly named after the Bonnie Prince Billy song, which may speak of a certain aesthetic (not quite what's now contemptuously termed "hipster"). Its location in Albion Street, between Sydney Road and Lygon Street, pretty much guarantees it's always busy; inside and out, it's full of nice little touches such as the fresh flowers, potted plants and mini-pictures. The staff were friendly and thankfully not at all cooler-than-though, which I confess I'd expected; when the smallest member of our party ran around boisterously, they offered him a fine selection of jungle animals to settle him down, including a warthog and hippo (hiding in plain sight in one of the pictures below). After perching inside for a little bit, the sun began to show and we went out to the side where there's an unexpected amount of space, long tables, green crates and wooden planters. The coffee was excellent - so good we ordered twice - and my breakfast of pancakes with strawberry yogurt can only be described as sensational. The pancakes were moist and airy and the yogurt had been whipped with strawberries into a mousse-like texture which perfectly complemented the juicy, tender berries strewn across the plate. D's bubble and squeak, served with a potato rosti and egg on top, was also pretty tasty although (unusually for him) he felt there was too much chorizo. The littlest one ate heartily of my pancakes and then devoured a delicious, fresh chocolate muffin. Minor may be the name, but the food was anything but minor and it's now top of the list for a return visit.

A Minor Place on Urbanspoon

Sunday, October 12, 2014

True North

True North is a welcome addition to a slightly moribund strip in Coburg. On a sunny Sunday lunchtime, there was just enough room for us to sit in a beautiful wooden booth; staff were friendly and welcoming and very indulgent of M's antics (which included lying prone on the floor, smack in everyone's way). Despite the fact that the clientele consisted mainly of Coburg twenty-somethings with tattoos and beards, the decor has a distinctly Gen-X feel (KISS dolls, A-Team books, Day of the Dead ephemera). The coffee was superlative and the food arrived quickly. My herby omelette in sourdough was tasty and D's Reuben tasted pretty damn delicious to me: cheesy, melty, and mouthwatering (and I don't even like Reubens). There's a sunny area out the back with tables and a deer mural; plenty of quirky details to keep up the visual interest; some great looking home made cakes and biscuits; and a squad of nice staff - definitely somewhere to come back to.

True North on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Merri Table

The Merri Table is at CERES, an environmental education organisation based on 4 acres of rehabilitated landfill in Brunswick. The cafe serves organic food based on low mileage principles and is housed inside a lovely, light and airy space in the main CERES group of buildings. There has been some imaginative use of wood and other recycled materials to create a relaxed and bright environment. There are some quirky touches: Heath Robinson style artwork that looks like a series of connected clocks but isn't; a section of the ceiling that curves like a hot air balloon; and greenery everywhere.

We ordered lunch on a quiet, slightly gloomy Monday. Staff were kind, but off-hand; although the smallest member of our party was boisterous, we never felt uncomfortable and there were plenty of kids around so it's certainly child-friendly. The food was hit and miss; although I enjoyed some beautiful juicy leg ham off the bone in a lovely soft roll with cheddar cheese, and M's kids' special toastie with ham and cheese contained the same ham and was served on delicious nutty rye bread, rather cutely served with popcorn on top, D's pho was underwhelming and seemed to lack sparkle - a bit like the service.

The plants in CERES' onsite nursery are always excellent and there are plenty of other features of CERES that make it worth a visit.

The Merri Table on Urbanspoon