Thursday, August 1, 2013

Brunching in North Melbourne

1. Auction Rooms

Fried Duck Eggs with Morcilla & Smoked Bone Marrow

Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder with Roasted Garlic, Smashed Peas and Mint

Brought my parents to Auction Rooms on one of their visits to Melbourne. We ordered these two dishes because they really jumped out of the menu to us. As much as I'd like to say that we enjoyed it, we really didn't... Surprisingly enough (given the rave reviews from every one else about the place). Overall, both dishes severely lacked flavour. 

The morcilla was meant to give the punch to the dish but was completely bland. I love eating blood sausage for the bold flavours and the one here was missing that completely. The whole dish lacked sauce and taste to bind it all together. There was nothing much I could enjoy with the toast. Lamb was tender, yes. But completely lacked excitement. The sauce wasn't enough to lift the dish and it's unfortunate when smashed peas excited your palette even more than tender lamb shoulder. 

What a disappointing experience at one of Melbourne's most "famous" cafes. It may be a once off experience but with that sort of queue I'm not interested in coming back to give it another go anyway. There's other places just a skip and hop away that I'd happily revisit any day, as you'll see.

Auction Rooms on Urbanspoon

2. Twenty & Six Espresso


Soy Piccolo

The Cassoulet - $17.90
Duck fat baked haricot beans with pancetta, pork & fennel sausage, sourdough and a garden herb crust.


The Kahvalti - $10.50
Toasted muesli with poached fruits and yoghurt

Finally caught up with Mich, a former food blogger, for the first time here late last year. The cafe is small but comfortable. White walls and plenty of light shining in with a few quirky little items to give the cafe a little more character. I loved it.

I love a good Cassoulet and the one I ordered was seriously DELICIOUS, I couldn't get enough of it. It was piping hot and full of flavour from the duck fats. The sausage was tender and delicious against the beans which had soaked up the flavours of the sauce with the fragrance of the thyme. Topped that with a perfectly crunchy crust, I was in heaven. It was seriously my kind of dish, I didn't want it to end. Flavour, texture, it has it all. No need for the poached egg on top, else it might be too rich.

Mich's muesli was a standout as well, with all the flavours marrying beautifully together. Nice and crunchy too. Again, flavour and texture, it has it all. 

Good coffee, great food and cosy ambience, I must say I really enjoyed my experience at Twenty and Six, definitely can't wait to come back again. I'm a fan.

Twenty & Six Espresso on Urbanspoon

3. Fandango 

Poached Eggs, Avocado and Bacon on Toasted Sourdough - $15.00

Poached Eggs, Bacon and Pesto on Toasted Sourdough -- $15.00

Pesto Scrambled Eggs - $16.00
Soft scrambled eggs flavoured with flecks of basil, pine nuts, garlic and parmesan. Served with grilled tomato and toasted sourdough

Caught up with my two good friends Kel and Aaron one Sunday morning at Fandango. With so many Melbourne cafes taking a much more creative (and hence, complicated) twist to their menus these days, sometimes you just crave a simple eggs breakfast, y'know? Good, old fashioned eggs brekkie at your local neighbourhood cafe. Ant this is exactly why we chose to eat at Fandango that morning.

The boys ordered poached eggs with a side of their favourite items. As for me, I opted for the pesto scrambled eggs (as I had recently made pesto at home and was on a pesto high). It was fantastic. Absolutely spot on. The ribbons of deliciously silky and creamy eggs against the hint of pesto was serious perfection. The flavour and crunch of the sourdough was unmistakeable too. I was very, very glad we came here for brekkie as each of us seriously enjoyed our food. 

It was fuss free and reminded you of the simpler times. It was worlds apart from Auction Rooms even though it was literally 2 doors down from this place. Fandango is a much older, classic, traditional and thus, simple establishment compared to most cafes in Melbourne these days. Despite the perpetual change in food trends in the brekkie/brunch scene, Fandango hasn't changed one bit and I love that about them.

Auction Rooms, Twenty & Six Espresso and Fandango are honestly just down the road or round the corner from one another. Each with a very distinct personality and I would happily dine at the latter two any day. 

Fandango on Urbanspoon

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