Another Northern Brunch Roundup
Welcome to another look at some lovely brunch places in the northern suburbs, proving convenient to all the lazy northerners who do not want to travel any further than needed for a decent meal. Apologies for the lack of posts lately but unfortunately life gets a tad busy sometimes. Anyway, I’m back and ready to tempt you with lots of food.
Fifteen Pounds: 21/23 Railway Place, Fairfield
I was surprised to find that this exciting and unique cafe was located just across from Fairfield Station – and that I used to go past it every morning in the car on the way to work! It looks quite small and cosy, but being a warm day, we had to make the most of this rare, warm day amidst Melbourne’s bout of unpredictable weather.
As this was quite a late brunch, I didn’t feel the need for coffee and we both ended up with berry smoothies coming in the latest trend of large, filling jars. They were very big, but more importantly milky and refreshing for the warm day.
After escaping the claws of temptation from the wagyu burger on the menu, I decided that it wasn’t a good idea to stomach such a heavy meal late in the day (and before a badminton session!) The specials tempted us with their unusual sounding dishes, thus my friend and I both chose from this menu.
My best friend’s dish was baked trout and shrimp with poached eggs, salsa verde, toaste and lemon air (below, courtesy of her Instagram – click through for her profile). Curiosity was evidently upon us, as we read “lemon air,” and to our amazement it was our favourite part of the dish. It’s the very pale yellow sauce in focus and it had a very unique taste, almost as if it belonged in a dessert, yet it worked so well in this dish. It had a light tangy flavour like lemon, yet it was a bit sweet too, like icing…but not.
Next up was my fish and chips (below), but it was not your ordinary serving as you can see. In fact it included purple french fries, made from some handy sweet potato, and barramundi plated quite pleasantly on the lettuce leaves.
The fries didn’t even taste that different from normal french fries, which I found impressive. They may not look attractive but they were crisp and crunchy, but every now again you do notice a taste that indicates that it’s actually sweet potato (no complaints). The fish was perfectly cooked and had a crispy skin on the outside, just the way I like it, and the sauce was light and garnished with greens.
These dishes are the type that don’t look filling but surprisingly are, proving quality over quantity. I absolutely loved their creativity and wonder if it’s worth going back to try all their interesting specials. They are such a small, local looking cafe, that you might not think twice passing by – but if you stop and take a look, some of their items may just surprise you. A gem for this section of town.
Prices are similar to usual brunch dishes, but may reach $20+ for some of the larger meals.
Fifteen Pounds is open Tue-Fri 7am-4pm and 8am-4pm on weekends.
Cheshire: 583 Gilbert Road, West Preston
I finally made it to Cheshire, a place that’s been on my list for a while. My first time, it was very busy. The layout and decor was nothing special, perhaps a tad small and cramped inside seating-wise, but luckily some people were leaving the communal table so we didn’t have to wait.
We both ordered lattes, which were fairly standard. I don’t drink coffee a lot now so I can’t claim to be an expert in this area. So on to the food – I ordered baked polenta with poached eggs, spinach, caramelised onion and extra chorizo (below). You know, just in case I would still be hungry….and I definitely wasn’t.
The meal was lovely, everything from the eggs to chorizo were perfectly cooked and I enjoyed the caramelised onions. It was faultless, but I don’t think a dish like this will stand out in my head when I think back to my brunch outings.
My friend ordered the caramelised scrambled eggs ($13) with extra mushrooms and chorizo too (below). I believe the toast might have been a little hard in some sections, so it was difficult to cut and eat, but the remainder of the dish was not bad. Once again, nothing that really stands out but a decent place to satisfy typical brunch and breakfast cravings.
The staff are fairly attentive and nice, so that’s a plus, and thus I didn’t really mind coming back to visit with my other friend as it was near our hairdresser. The weather was nice this time, thus outdoor seating was fine and more spacious for us (seated on a table for four). It also wasn’t as busy during this Saturday lunch time, compared to the previous visit during a Sunday morning.
I was curious as to what was on the specials’ board, so my friend went around to take a picture of it. The nice waiter witnessed this, then brought it around and placed it right in front of us.
In an indulgent mood, I went for a sweet meal of pear pancakes with chantilly cream, maple syrup, roasted hazelnuts and cinnamon sugar (below, $15) paired with an iced chocolate.
The iced chocolate was tall and enticing, although the top didn’t look like a lot of thought had gone into this part of the presentation. My friend also ordered an iced coffee, which looked a bit pale compared to other places.
The pancakes were stacked and provided an excellent sweet flavour, courtesy of the chantilly cream. I’m usually not a fan of cream but this one won me over, a little subtler and more flavoursome than whipped cream. The stack was thick but I don’t feel there was enough maple syrup to go with
this many pancakes. The hazelnuts were nice and crunchy, so overall I was happy with ny choice as it was perfect to indulge in.
My friend ordered poach eggs on toast (below, $10) with some extra tomato and chorizo. The eggs were not perfectly done, in fact they looked strangely pale and yellow and not deep and orange. As you can see, one egg is also a bit broken. Hence, the cafe didn’t prove itself amazing with this dish.
Thus, Cheshire can often provide you the comfort breakfast food you need, the staff are friendly and accommodating but they’re not an extremely standout cafe.
Cheshire is open Mon-Fri 7am-4pm and 8am-4pm on weekends.
St Alexander’s Kitchen: 130A Alexander Ave, Thomastown
If you’re still dying for a little more or you just want to drool at some more pictures of the food I eat, I’ve written a Weekendnotes article on St Alexander’s Kitchen after my second trip. My first trip is documented in my previous Brunch in the North post, however my article takes in to account both visits.
In short, the Spanish omelette (top) was massive and tasty, and the Hangover breakfast (bottom) was a bit salty. The toast was a bit hard this time around and they might want to cut back on parmesan in some areas… but I enjoyed my omelette nonetheless and I love their stacked presentation of their dishes and homely feel.
Read more here and also feel free to recommend me other good places in the northern suburbs!