Sunday, April 7, 2013

Auction Rooms

Summer isn't quite gone yet! A beautiful Melbourne day saw the front tables at Auction Rooms bathed in sunlight, and we were lucky enough to get one for our party of four. We arrived on a Sunday for 9.30am, and very soon after that there was quite a large queue.

Delightful Auction Rooms ambiance

It's a gorgeous space with a wide ceiling, exposed beams and unique fittings.

The staff are ALL good-looking, channeling an artsy-but-not-too-cool-hipster vibe. It's a comfortable atmosphere, and we were looked after with our orders and extra requests.


Both the food and coffee took quite a while to arrive, which could be just the busyness factor of Sunday at a cafe. While it wasn't too annoying (we had great company!) we did notice it.

CoffeeBean and I went with the 'Opening Bid' (cute name) – poached eggs on sourdough, then you can add options like avocado and tomato relish in my case, and heirloom tomato salad and potato quinoa rosti for CoffeeBean.

LaBelle went with the delicious-looking poached eggs on top of a tomato, capsicum and chickpea bake, with flatbread.

LB opted for the impressive- looking salmon stack, with poached eggs and hollandaise.

All up, a nice space with good food.

"Not beatnik but not quite commercial"!!!

6.8 out of 10 bids

103-107 Errol St, North Melbourne
Ph. 03 9326 7749

*Photography by LB*

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Porgie + Mr Jones

Tasty Strong
Soy Latte

CoffeeBean summed it up perfectly when she described the inside of Porgie + Mr Jones as like walking into someone's house and having a wonderful leisurely meal.

The interior is light and spacious, with a beautiful outdoor courtyard which looked lovely on the sunny Sunday morning that we were there for breakfast.

Banana Bread Extravaganza

The coffee, while good, was unfortunately not outstanding. The first round for LB was too milky, she wished she had asked for a strong coffee. On the second round she asked for strong, and boy did she get it! It must have been a triple shot because LB's hands started shaking halfway through and she couldn't finish it! So overall the coffee was a little inconsistent.

My soy latte (I asked for it strong) was quite good, the soy was not overpowering and it was strong enough for my taste. CoffeeBean was happy with her hot skinny cappuccino, it was just right for her, but LaBelle thought her latte was too weak. 

The mega breakfast, the P+MJ, caused an epic food frenzy. Coffeebean was so overwhelmed she had trouble opening her napkin! The feast of bacon, poached eggs, two slices of toast with avocado, beautifully marinated mushrooms and roasted sweet tomatoes took some work but I got through most of it! A small quibble is that I wish they had placed the mushrooms on the side, because they soak the bread into a black mushy mess which was not very fun to eat.

LaBelle's Dukkah Eggs were a multicoloured treat, and very good.
LB really enjoyed the banana bread with its berry compote twist, and took some brilliant photos of our food.

P+MJ - The Works Breakfast

Dukkah Eggs
The staff were lovely and not at all pushy, letting us sit and chat for a while after eating which was nice. They replaced our empty water bottle as well – such a small courtesy but one I always love.

We will be returning to Porgie and Mr Jones to try out the rest of the delicious-sounding menu.

7 out of 10 sunny courtyards!

Porgie + Mr Jones
291 Auburn Rd
Hawthorn, VIC 3122

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Lux Foundry

First brunch of 2012, at Lux Foundry in Brunswick! The gang is back together - LB, CoffeeBean, Cute A and me!

First up: I love the space of Lux Foundry. I walked in and immediately felt at ease, unlike some cafes where I have in the past squeezed my way through the door and been confronted by unfriendly stares and bustle which made me feel very uncomfortable. This is definitely not the case with the beautiful high ceilings and large warehousey space at Lux. It felt light and airy and welcoming.
There were conflicting reports on the coffee - LB felt that it wasn't strong enough for her liking, whereas CoffeeBean said hers was too strong. My strong soy latte was strong and tasty, but it definitely wasn't my favourite tasting soy milk. That said, every coffee had perfectly textured milk, and lovely art, so there was definitely love in the coffee making process going on. 

The food was exceptional!
I had muesli with earl grey poached pears, yoghurt and berries, and it was actually more like bircher muesli instead of a dry variety. The delicate slices of pear on top were so good. I wolfed this down in record time. Delicious!

Museli with earl grey poached pears

Pepita, oat and goji berry granola

Cute A went for the pepita, oat and goji berry granola with orange blossom yoghurt and Canadian maple, which also looked incredible. She reported that it was delicious, with a good combination of yoghurt with a little container of milk on the side to add herself.

LB had coconut crusted French toast - this dish was definite cause of food envy! Airy toast with delicate espresso mascarpone - divine!

Coconut crusted
French Toast

And CoffeeBean chose creamed corn and green chilli relish poached eggs on sour dough, which came out steaming and fresh looking.

Everyone loved the food here, it was expertly prepared and so very tasty.

Added to our fabulous eating experience was the polite service, with a particularly friendly smiling waiter who didn't rush us out when we had finished eating - I LOVE this kind of service. Despite the constant turnover and business of the place, we were made to feel like we could spend the whole day here! Of course, we were too polite ourselves and shuffled off after our last round of girly chats. All of the staff were attentive and got us water and extra coffees when we asked. The atmosphere was a little noisy, but it wasn't too overpowering, and there was background music which was a nice touch.

In all, this was a great experience. 

8 out of 10 food envy points!

Lux Foundry Cafe 
21 Hope Street
Brunswick VIC 3056

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Dukes Coffee Roasters

Random Chapel Street wandering saw me stumble across this lovely cafe around brunch time.

Strong Soy Latte

Straight up I was given water (love this small attention to detail in cafes) and I ordered a strong soy latte, and damn, it was excellent. Without wanting to sound like a coffee wanker, it did taste like smoky cigars and chocolate wrapped up in a soft fluffy blanket. Yep. Fantastic coffee.

 I sat near a large, gorgeous recycled timber wall with shelves on it holding various coffee packets and coffee making paraphernalia. The whole back area is lovely and light, aided by a skylight cut into the roof near the exposed wooden beams. 

Bolstered by caffeine energy, I ordered the bircher museli for a healthy injection to my day.

This was great - yogurt covered oats and dried fruit, slivered almonds for crunch, and long, thin slices of apple on top. The addition of little bits of chewy, honey-filled granola on top was inspired, it was really delicious.

Bircher Museli
 A second strong soy latte was equally as excellent as the first, served by the friendly yet laidback staff.

A wonderful experience, I'll certainly be back for more of this excellent coffee.

8.9 out of 10 Dukes

Dukes Coffee Roasters
169 Chapel Street
Windsor VIC 3181
Ph 03 9521 4884

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Hobba Latte
The brunch adventures continue with me and LB, this time at Hobba in Malvern Road, Prahran.

I think the exposed wooden beams in the ceiling are brilliant - Hobba has such a welcoming vibe. It definitely has a modern warehouse feel to it, thankfully without being too sparse.
Cute wooden booths run through the centre of the massive space, with smaller tables and chairs scattered around the front area. We sat at the back of the cafe, at a big communal table set around a small tree. The table was spacious and I think suitable for singles or couples dining - it doesn't feel like you're going to put your elbow into your neighbour's food accidentally.  I like the steel stools and bench panelling around the barista area too.

LB's fantastic photography!

There's a twist to their eggs! Special poached eggs, strictly 62.5 degrees. LB had to try them, she had a poached egg with roasted tomato and avocado on multigrain toast.

The egg was very interesting to eat, it tasted so silky smooth. And strangely, although it looked translucent and a bit watery, it tasty more 'eggy' than any egg I've had in a long time. The egg flavour seemed very concentrated and strong.
Bizarro poached egg

Hobba Bircher

LB said the roasted tomato was a bit disappointing, it didn't taste at all roasted, but maybe just grilled quickly and lacking taste.

I went for the bircher muesli, which was very good. Healthy tasting and quite filling.

The coffee - (we had lattes) was not strong enough for our liking. The verdict: good, but not great.

I have to give special mention to the staff, they were great with water refills, very pleasant and friendly to deal with. I love cafes that seem to care like Hobba does!

7.2 out of 10 poached 62.5 degree eggs!

428 Malvern Road
Prahran VIC 3181
Ph: 03 9510 8336

Monday, October 31, 2011

Cafe Gaia

Beautiful Coffee

Melbourne turned on another winter-in-spring day today, a dreary Sunday with grey skies, lots of wind and a bit of annoying rain. But Cute A and I were not to be deterred! Cafe visiting must go on!

And on we went to Cafe Gaia in South Yarra.

I had the impression South Yarra was a bit up-market and expensive, so I was worried about finding a snooty establishment. Not so with Cafe Gaia - for a start, the staff were friendly and attentive.

The space itself is lovely, light and airy, and large enough not to feel cramped while at the same time not too big and characterless.

We started with our favourite coffees: a skinny cappuccino (extra hot!) and a soy latte. The coffee was perfect temperature for both of us, and strong and smooth. Delicious!

Our food choices!

Blueberry & ricotta pancakes. With fairy floss on top!

I chose the pancakes which were nice and thin, not too fat and cakey. I love blueberries, so they were a good addition. The fairy floss was a little too sweet for me though, especially with the maple syrup.

Cute A went savoury, she chose pork belly with potato rosti and poached eggs. 

Pork belly with poached egg & potato rosti
The pork belly was not too fatty, it was really well-cooked. The relish was delicious, and the potato rosti was very tasty. Food win! And I was definitely jealous. Food envy ruled supreme this day!

I love that this cafe is in a little side street. It was very busy the day we went, being a Sunday that's understandable. But we only waited about 5 minutes for a table after arriving at 11, and our coffee and food came out quite quickly.

Our second round of coffee was equally as excellent as the first.

Overall, we were very happy with everything - the coffee, the food, the service. What a great place for Sunday brunch.

8.9 out of 10 potato rostis!

Cafe Gaia
Shop 3, 4 Avoca Street
South Yarra VIC 3141
Ph 03 9866 7522

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Axil Coffee Roasters

On a cold, blustery Melbourne Sunday, what could be better than escaping the elements in the fine warehouse-style interior of Axil Coffee Roasters in Hawthorn?

Nothing! At least for these four breakfast brunching girls: LB, CoffeeBean, Cute A and me!

We arrived about 10.40am, and put our names on a waiting list. We were told we had a 20-30 minute waiting time. Lots of people were waiting in the charming little front alcove where various coffee paraphernalia was on offer for purchase. I was particularly taken with the idea of buying a 'Siphon' coffee contraption for something different. Some people had ordered coffees to drink while waiting here also, which was a nice touch - looking after waiting patrons, what a great idea.

Luckily we only had to wait about 15 minutes before a table for 4 became available.

We had two rounds of coffee, including skinny lattes, soy lattes, and skinny cappuccinos. My soy lattes were both incredibly smooth, chocolately and dense - I loved the coffee here. It was a real pleasure to drink slowly, savouring the taste fully. I usually ask for strong soy lattes, but here the standard shot was strong enough - very impressive. Everyone was very happy with their choices, the only minor variance being Cute A finding her second coffee a little bitter, and not quite as amazing as her first.

LB went with buttermilk pancakes with chocolate, pear, praline and zabaglione gelato, Cute A chose the gluten free corn and haloumi fritters with avocado, poached egg and salsa rosso, CoffeeBean had smashed avocado and Meredith feta on multigrain toast with a poached egg, and I had scrambled eggs on multigrain, with avocado and tomato on the side.

Dish of the Day award has to go to those buttermilk pancakes circled in dark chocolate. Massive food envy ensued! The ball of gelato on top, the pear, the presentation - it was all going on here. Fantastic!

Cute A's corn fritters were light and tasty, with the avocado and salsa complementing the dish well. CoffeeBean's smashed avocado got the thumbs up, and a special mention has to go to that superb multigrain bread, it was delicious.

My scrambled eggs were done well, not overcooked or too runny. The avocado was excellent quality and just the right amount to spread over that incredibly tasty grainy bread, and the tomatoes cut through the creaminess of the other ingredients well with their acidic tang.

I like the feel of the cafe too. Although it is quite spacious and roomy, it doesn't feel like a soulless warehouse or a big cavernous space. The tasteful design - like cute, tiny pot-plant art and the combination of bench and table seats make the interior very welcoming. The big glass window looking out to the world is a nice reminder that all the people out there are missing out on fabulous coffee! It's perhaps an overused and possibly pretentious term, but 'industrial chic' really did spring into my mind while I was at Axil, especially when looking at the wall decorations, ceiling art and long mirrors.

To sum up: fantastic coffee, good food. I wish I lived closer so I could drink their coffee all the time. And apologies to the surrounding patrons if our raucous laughter sometimes rang out during our extremely fun catch-up!

8.9 out of 10 Neighbour's cats!

Avil Coffee Roasters
322 Burwood Road
Hawthorn 3122

Ph: 03 9819 0091