Brunch in the North
As a “northsider”, it’s natural for me to be curious as to what foodie goodies the suburbs have stored. When you’re not in the mood to travel to a highly rated cafe in the inner suburbs and suffer a wait, it’s good every now and again to explore your own area.
Miss Marie: 45 Beetham Parade, Rosanna
Miss Marie is a small cafe that lies in a street near Rosanna Station. It’s often bustling with locals and mums and bubs. The first time I went, I could not resist the French toast ($13.50, above) with banana and bacon! Drenched in syrup and covered in icing sugar, I enjoyed the meal immensely and had never heard of bacon with French toast before! (Apparently, it’s a Canadian thing?) The banana looks a little burnt in the photo but from memory, it was just slightly charred and did not make the dish any less enjoyable.
My second outing, my starving friend and I went immediately for the Big Breakfast ($16.50) and two pots of tea. The only slight problems included our waitress forgetting which tea was which, and two overly attached bees that drove us to move our meal inside.
Overall, it’s a good local place that can serve traditional breakfast dishes just as good as anywhere else for reasonable prices. There’s usually sufficient street parking and it is a good down-to-earth place for a long chat.
Tyler St Cafe: 235A Tyler St, Preston
Preston is a suburb not particularly short of brunch places, but amidst the popular cries for Jackson Dodds and Cheshire (both of which I’m yet to try), my friend convinced me to try a tiny cafe hidden on Tyler St.
I can’t believe I haven’t noticed it before, as it’s just off Plenty Rd and I go past that corner all the time. The shop seemed to be run by one man, who I presume is the owner. He was happy to take our drink orders as we walked in, despite running other orders. We chuckled at the Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie Beans on the menu, whilst we observed the seating inside was quite basic but had some interesting knickknacks such as this little board dedicated to Marilyn Monroe (above).
I chose the Calabrese eggs ($12.50, pictured) with extra chorizo and mushrooms ($7), whilst my friends had different sandwiches (ranging from $8-$12). The owner was quite entertaining, a joker who kept teasing my friend who asked for no parmesan, and looked at my other friend weirdly when she ordered a vegetarian sandwich – with bacon. The servings were large (or was that just because of my extras?) and I enjoyed the tomato paste with my sausage and eggs.
I would love to go back, but the other items on the menus don’t stand out to me from any other cafe. Maybe if I’m in the area and in the mood for a sandwich and a bit of entertainment from the owner!
St Alexander’s Kitchen: 130A Alexander Ave, Thomastown
Even closer to home (hope this is not revealing to everyone where I live haha), is St Alexander’s Kitchen. This is perhaps, the most surprising and hidden, as after my friend and I parked, we were doubtful if we were in the right place and if the joint was even open. It’s on a little strip of shops in Thomastown near a Foodworks store, and wasn’t bright from the outside, with just a little dingy sign to lead us in.
The surprising thing about them, is that they are known for their pizzas for dinner, so who knew they would be exceptionally good at serving brunch. They only serve it on weekends, so it might explain why many people don’t know. The staff were attentive, but it wasn’t busy so I can only judge from this experience. Their decor was another collection of antiques that you would find at a garage sale, and it was cute nevertheless.
I’m on a coffee ban so I ordered my other usual besides tea, a refreshing mango juice. I chose the Shakshuka ($15, above), scrambled eggs with pastrimi, cheese and tomato. You will come to know from my blogs I don’t like a lot of things: coconut, tomato, pineapple etc. But sometimes the deliciousness of something can outweigh the inclusion of these ingredients….or I just give it to my friends to eat.
It was delicious, but towards the end I had to give up on the leftover tomato. It’s also a very large portion and uniquely plated. I particularly enjoyed the presentation of my friend’s Eggs Benedict ($14, above – credit to my friend’s Instagram photo), which was stacked very high. I’m impressed it didn’t topple over.
Out of all these places, I would like to go back to St Alexander’s, as their menu has a few other things, like omelettes, that I wouldn’t mind trying, and it’s not very far for my friends and I. They have an outdoor seating at the back that I would like to try on a good Melbourne weather day and of course, I might need to try their pizzas for dinner some time!
I have many more places to explore, and many more I haven’t mentioned. Stay tuned, recommend me some good places in the north, or give me your thoughts on these places!