Brunch: Fitzroy Focus
Well folks, it looks like Fitzroy isn’t running out of brunch places any time soon. In fact, they are continuously popping up left, right and centre. Here’s a few that I’ve been to:
De Clieu: 187 Gertrude St, Fitzroy
I forgive in advance if this review is outdated, but I visited this place during my uni days last year. To put it simply, it didn’t impress me. A uni day, means it wasn’t even peak hour during the weekend. The wait was a bit long, say twenty minutes plus. I can’t remember exactly how long, but it definitely left us feeling quite hungry and sure that we would be back to uni late.
After some debate, I went with the Berkshire Pork Neck (above, $17) with spring onion roti, tonkatsu BBQ sauce and a fried egg. Usually a fan of pork belly, I wasn’t sure if pork neck would be quite as good. Second no-no, was that this came out cold. The egg especially felt so cold, I was really curious as to whether they just left it for so long and forgot to bring it out or they cooked it so early to keep up with the orders…
If the dish did come out warm, I’d say overall it would still be a slightly average dish. Despite the delicious appearance, all I remember about the dish is that the BBQ sauce made it a fairly tasty, although I don’t see what difference the “tonkastu” BBQ sauce has. Out of all the dishes, this did appeal to me the most but unfortunately I was left dissatisfied having paid $17 for a small, cold meal and quite hungry.
My uni friend chose the above dish, but I can’t locate it in on the current menu. Another difficult thing was that the menu said no alterations. For most cafes, this usually only applies to the weekend, but this applied to everyday. My friend really wanted the dish but she doesn’t like poached eggs. After enquiring, she still wasn’t able to but went with the meal anyway. Although beautifully presented, with two jars of jam, it still wasn’t anything special. Cheese and ham? You could have this any day.
Granted this was last year, one day I might give it another try, but right now too many brunch places lie on the list before it, so it’s unlikely I will be back there soon.
De Clieu is open Mon-Sat 7am-5pm and Sun 8am-5pm. You can find the menu here.
Breakfast Thieves: Shop 1, 420 Gore St, Fitzroy
It’s a trend these days to have quotes at your cafe, I’m not against it, in fact, they always provide a chuckle. This one at Breakfast Thieves was amazingly accurate (for my friend, not me haha)!
Courtesy of Breakfast Thieves’ Facebook page
Arriving on an autumn Saturday morning, it was packed, which is often a good sign. We had to join two other people in waiting for a table. At least they had a bench where we could sit whilst waiting, and they even served us coffee and brought out sugar and the menu.
Eventually we were seated inside. I’m often influenced by other blogs and mouthwatering photos such as The Hungry Excavator’s, and I’m also an avid fan of French toast. Unsurprisingly, I couldn’t help but order the Brioche Pain Perdu (bottom, $17), French toast served with spiced wine poached plums, white chocolate mascarpone mousse & candied pistachio. Now this one did not disappoint.
The four rectangular pieces of crispy French toast with soft insides, plus the sweetness of the dish, actually fills you up quite a bit. I enjoyed everything from the presentation, to the succulent poached plums and the crumble on the far right to balance out the softer foods such as the mousse (not sure if the crumble is one of the aforementioned ingredients).
The other dish is from the lunch menu, called Botak Chin (top, $17). This was described as Malaysian Char-Siew pork wrapped in chilli-chive crepe with a side of crisp enoki mushroom, carrots, orange & sesame, rocket salad. Well firstly, I didn’t even notice the crispy side was enoki mushrooms until I re-read the menu now. We found this Modern dish enjoyable, the char-siew tender and flavoursome. Only complaint would be not enough meat!
Out of some of the hyped places around Melbourne, I feel that this place definitely deserves it.
Breakfast Thieves is open Tue-Fri, 7.30-4pm and 8-4pm on the weekends (kitchen closes at 3pm). Find their menu here.
Hammer & Tong
Hammer and Tong is fast becoming one of the top talked about places on Urbanspoon, thus you cannot blame my curiosity in trying this highly rated cafe. My friend even raved about the soft shell crab burger, so with a first-hand opinion, I was persuaded. If you haven’t seen my burger post (why not??), I’ve already discussed this burger as quite good, but pricey for a small portion ($16).
However, the surprise dish for me was the duck egg, asparagus, truffle butter, parmesan briont (below, $18). There is some new craze involving truffle oil, thus I was curious as to the taste of truffle butter. I’m not sure what its magical power is, but it made my bread so soft and aromatic. I feel like there was the right amount of everything, as lately I’ve found some places overdo it with the parmesan. The duck egg, also had a distinctive taste that differentiates it from your normal eggs. The egg combined with the soft buttery bread, made the dish a surprising winner, so for once one of my risky choices paid off!
Hammer and Tong is open Tues – Sat 7am to late (they’re open for dinner) and Sunday 8am to 5pm. View the menu here.
Hankering for one more? This post is getting a tad long but feel free to read my full article on Mockingbird Cafe & Patisserie on Weekendnotes, which has received an editor’s award. It’s a lovely little local cafe in Fitzroy North that I would definitely return to for their service.