What’s up in the North?
Back in my uni days, I spent much time eating, especially in the CBD and inner suburbs (Fitzroy, Carlton, North Melbourne). Nowadays, working full time means I’m a lot lazier on the weekends and would prefer to eat somewhere local. By local – I mean about 20 minutes out.
Still – things are slowly coming out to the ‘burbs and I enjoy watching new things pop up instead of driving an hour to line up at the latest hip cafe.
Sartoria: 115 Plenty Road, Preston
Preston has definitely been growing for some period of time, but it’s great to see more things continuing to open. Sartoria is the latest brunch spot on Plenty Rd, serving innovative dishes such as sticky black rice pudding with matcha foam and buffalo yoghurt hotcakes with green tea cream.
The venue itself is huge for a cafe, the inside looks like it used to be a warehouse or factory and it’s not surprising considering its location.
It has a bit of a theme with old sewing machines and my dish, the Seamstress ($18). It included a waffle hash brown, avocado, beetroot, poached eggs and onion. The hash brown was tasty with its unique base, waffle texture on the outside and hash brown on the inside.
The dish worked but it wasn’t anything with a wow factor after the good things I’d heard about the place. I did however enjoy my iced batch brew and loved the cup it came in!
The Adventouriist’s dish on the other hand, the Machinist ($19), was much nicer with pork hock, black pudding, salsa and poached eggs. The pork was crispy and the pudding crumbled, whilst the salsa enhanced the dish in flavour – delicious. We also ordered a little Portuguese tart for dessert and didn’t regret it, although many people were going for the cinnamon scrolls.
I would come back for the spacious atmosphere and also to test out some of the other dishes (and their interesting drinks menu – red velvet hot chocolate or brunch cocktails anybody?) See their menu here.
Mabel Jones: 67 Grimshaw St, Greensborough
I was fascinated the other day to learn of a new cafe in Greensborough – a suburb more known for it’s plaza shopping centre and take away restaurants. I was even more interested when I heard it was the same cafe owners as Jerry Joy in Thornbury, which I was quite impressed by.
This next venture in Greensborough is quite large and spacious – seats are not cramped into every corner available. Instead there is a large round communal table at the front, a ramp for prams, a wall of couch seating, multiple tables and high benches.
We arrived during the first week of opening and there was already a little wait for a table (only about 10 minutes). Coffee is by Axil Roasters, same as Jerry Joy, so it was delicious for this part of town and we ended up having two coffees.
Food was decent – but what concerned us more was that servings were on the small side. I was content after it and two coffees, but in comparison to other brunch places the value for cost doesn’t seem competitive enough. I had the Ham Hock Terrine served on a hash brown with poached egg and apple cider hollandaise ($17).
Loved the thick hash brown (if you haven’t noticed, I loveeeee hash browns) and the bit of crackling on top of the terrine. It didn’t leave me starving but I knew I would be hungry again later.
My friend had the Mushrooms and Hash with bacon ($21), which was pretty much the same as a dish from Jerry Joy that my sister had, except with less mushrooms. Without the side of bacon, I’d expect most people would still be hungry.
It’s a great addition to the area and without similar cafes nearby, it seems most people are willing to pay the price for quality brunch. However, as a big eater, I’d recommended ordering an extra dish to share with your friends!
If I worked around the area I would definitely drop by for some takeaway coffee and treats – the muffins looked delicious (I think I’ve seen them in various cafes and that they’re by Little Bertha). Click the menu below for a larger view.
Cheese and Bread: 518 High St, Preston
If you’ve been living under a rock, or you’re just not a social media person, you might have missed the hype around Preston’s new drive-through cheese toastie food truck at the Food Truck Park (Preston).
They’ve been featured on Buzzfeed Oz, Pedestrian, Broadsheet and more. Naturally, I thought I’d slightly alter my driving route to work and give this place a shot – you can’t say no to cheese. Especially melted cheese. Especially mac and cheese. Since I brought it to work, it wasn’t as hot by the time I ate it, but boy did it make my car smell delicious.
The toastie was oozing with cheese and the added side of sujuk (Turkish sausage similar to chorizo) was a good choice. I think it’s definitely worth it as a proper meal, the sausage topped it off with something salty and meaty, and a coffee at work helped bring it all together. Even the pickles were surprisingly helpful in clearing the palette after several mouthfuls of cheese.
I’ve heard some of the other toasties with meat aren’t as good, but I’ll have to give it a try as well as their coffee. I’m hoping they eventually start trading on the weekends so my friend and I can drop by and sit in for a meal as I noticed they also have items such as poutine fries as a side!
For now, drop by from 6am weekdays for your fix and see what you think.
The outer north is gradually growing and I’m still yet to visit some places on my list such as Second Home in Eltham (same people as Entrocote) and Stray Neighbour in Preston. Would love any additional suggestions for the north – drop it in the comments! 🙂