inside

Pod @ Post Industrial Design, Footscray

638 Barkly St, West Footscray | 0438 074 934
We went: Sat Nov 15 2014 | Rating: 23/25

Liked: 

I thought I had never seen Niccolo coffee before but it turns out I have (it’s scattered throughout Melbourne, including Mighty Boy in Fitzroy). I am really loving long blacks at the moment for a couple of reasons. One, I’m off milk. Two, I can do filter at home. Three, with a long black you get to taste the bean at its best (providing it’s done right). Four, it packs a punch!

chai

Pod didn’t disappoint with its coffee. My Niccolo long black was nutty with a touch of citrus. Loved it. We also had a Calmer Sutra chai with honey, which came in a generous pot that poured three cups worth.

poached egg

I ate the Israeli Eggs, which was a lighter version of the run-of-the-mill baked eggs you get everywhere these days. Spicy and sweet, the sauce and yoghurt really worked well together. We also had the poached eggs, asparagus with panchetta and truffle oil. We couldn’t fault either of these.

niccolo coffee

Sometimes it’s the little things that please. Sounds funny but I loved the water jug, the saucers, the quirky hanging light shades, the unusual furniture and the big window facing Barkly Street.

In short, this place is a real gem. Footscray is fast becoming Melbourne’s sleeping giant of cool. (But don’t tell too many people). I loved that the staff knew many of the customers by name. And the big communal table in the middle speaks volumes for the community vibe they’re promoting.

israeli eggs

Attached to Pod is a VERY HIP arts and crafts store called Post Industrial Design. Here you’ll find anything from t-shirts to furniture to books to jewellery to home-made beer kits.

menu 1menu 3 menu 2

Disliked:

The menu is not overly extensive but they are good at what they do, which is important.

Ka-ching: $43 (two people food and drink)

outside

store

 

 

 

 

 

Ratings: Coffee 5/5, Staff 4.5/5, Vibe 5/5, Food 4/5, Price: 4.5/5

Pod @ Post Industrial Design on Urbanspoon

IMG_5863

Cornershop, Yarraville

9 Ballarat St, Yarraville | 9689 0052
We went: Sat Oct 18, 2014 | Rating: 23/25

     IMG_5870  IMG_5869  IMG_5868IMG_5867IMG_5862IMG_5861

IMG_5871 IMG_5865

Liked:

The cool beats playing in the background that created an upbeat vibe – yet we could still hear each other.

Buzzing vibe. The place was packed on a Saturday morning. Despite this, food and coffees came out lightning fast and everything was top notch.

Bacon steak, potato hash, apple sauce and poached eggs ($18) hit the spot nicely – the smoked bacon combined nicely with the apple puree.

The baked eggs are reliable here. We had the Merguz sausage, roasted tomatoes and peppers with labneh and grilled turkish bread ($15.50). Loved the runny eggs – all too rare (no pun intended!) these days in baked eggs – and the turkish bread to mop up the delicious left-overs at the end.

Papa Smurf ordered the Ricotta hotcakes, blueberry compote and mascaprone ($15). He said, “they were very different because they were ricotta hotcakes and had a soft, creamy texture. There were plenty of blueberries and a dollop of cream. Everything was lovely and fresh.”

Lastly, we had the Melbourne Pantry cold smoked salmon with sweet potato cake and charred corn salsa ($18) which “was very nice but I think there should be a piece of bread or something else because it wasn’t very filling”.

Coffees (Supreme Coffee) was fine. No issues.

Service is unobtrusive; efficient.

There is a decent selection of beers, spirits (including Lark whisky from Tassie) and wine if you fancy an afternoon tipple before a movie at the Sun.

The village atmosphere around this place is the envy of surrounding suburbs.

Didn’t like:

Very hard to fault this place. They get most things right, though I do like the option of ordering a single-origin coffee, which I didn’t see here.

Ka-ching: $82 for four meals and coffees.

Ratings: Food 4.5/5, Coffee: 4.5/5, Service: 4.5/5, Vibe: 5/5, Price: 4.5/5

The Cornershop on Urbanspoon

IMG_5832

The Little Man Cafe, Seddon

158 Victoria St Seddon | 9687 8881
We went: Sat Oct 11, 2014 | Verdict: 19/25

  IMG_5837   IMG_5835 IMG_5833 IMG_5832 IMG_5831 IMG_5830 IMG_5829 IMG_5828 IMG_5827IMG_5836

Liked:

Food was consistent, delicious and beautifully present. We had the French toast, the Fritters and the Mexican Pot Eggs. Fritters were the pick of the bunch.

Coffee, by 5 Senses, was good. We had flat whites and a long black. No complaints.

The place was buzzing at 9am on a Saturday. Not a huge space (fits about 40 at capacity).

Loved the minimalist decor and subtle colour scheme. Baby blue on white works. Fresh.

Well-lit space… plenty of natural light.

Staff were pleasant.

Close proximity to Sourdough Bakery and Seddon Wine Store.

Local street art on Victoria Street (below).

IMG_5840IMG_5838

Disliked: 

Furniture looks like it came from Ikea.

No outside seating.

No specials.

Ka-ching: $82.40 for four people (food and drink).

Ratings: Food 4/5, Coffee: 3.5/5, Staff: 3.5/5, Vibe: 4/5, Price: 4/5. Total: 19/25

The Little Man Cafe on Urbanspoon

IMG_5839

Ascot Food Store, Moonee Ponds

320 Ascot Vale Rd Moonee Ponds | 9370 2649
We went: Sun July 27, 2014 | Verdict: 19.5/25

corn fritters front menu two menu1 outside ramen

Ascot Food Store on Facebook

 

In a nutshell: smart location, smart set-up, however still a few kinks to iron out before this new player is a smooth-running machine.

Food: we had the corn fritters and the ramen. The corn fritters, though a bit doughy, were fried to perfection and had ample condiments that were finger-lickin’ good. One poached egg was one too few, in our opinion.

When the ramen arrived, there was something missing… where’s the broth? Ah, there it is… delivered by another waiter seconds later and drizzled over the naked noodles, mushrooms and two prawns. We appreciated the theatre! “Careful, it’s REALLY hot,” warned the waiter. Um… no it wasn’t. In fact, the heat was an issue with the ramen; it was cold within a minute. Then there was the taste. Perhaps it was foolish of us to order it given how spoilt we had been with ramen in Tokyo recently. Of course a cafe in Moonee Ponds isn’t going to deliver Japanese-standard cuisine. That said, on wintry Sunday morning, you do want a steaming-hot broth that will maintain its heat for at least five minutes. Additionally, it lacked seasoning. Needed salt yet there was none to be found on the outside tables.

Maybe we went a bit ‘safe’ with out order. There are some delicious choices on offer. Looking at food pics on their Facebook-page is a mouth-watering activity. Food verdict: 3.5/5

Coffee: coffee is by Proud Mary. The barista knows what he’s doing. While the filter was ‘unavailable’ despite being advertised, our strong flat white and soy flat white were demolished in seconds. They do need to sort out the point of service area for coffees. When we went the barista was getting a bit grumpy with staff for not getting coffees out quick enough. Not completely their fault though as customers are queuing to pay in the same area. This, I suspect, will be sorted soon. Coffee verdict: 4/5

Service: coffee took about 20 mins to come. Food was pretty quick. Staff were pleasant even though they were under the pump. Service verdict: 4/5

Vibe: strange old area the little zone between Moonee Ponds and Ascot Vale. Young, middle-class families/emerging hipster scene meant the place was buzzing when we went. Unfortunately we think they would be more efficient with 20 or so less seats and focused on quality for fewer people. That said, it’s fantastic to see what they have done with what was previously a bit of an eyesore on Ascot Vale Road. I have little doubt Ascot Vale Food Store, which plans on doing dinners down the track too, has huge potential. There is nothing like it on the street and there are plenty of residents all around it who seem prepared to support it. Vibe verdict: 4/5

Ka-ching: about $40 for coffees and brunch. Price verdict: 4/5

Ascot Food Store on Urbanspoon

Streat, Flemington

307 Racecourse Road, Flemington | 9372 3288
We went: Sat June 28, 2014 | Verdict: 22/25

http://www.streat.com.au/

Image

In a nutshell: some people talk about making a positive difference to the world and some people actually make a meaningful difference. The folks at Streat walk the walk. Here you will get quality brunch, served with a smile, and pay knowing your dollar is making a difference to Melbourne’s homeless population. Read more about the great things Streat is doing for the homeless here.

 

Food: chef Rob Auger has designed a classic brunch menu with some little surprises thrown in. I had the Korean Tacos, which were delicious and filling. The corn tortillas are sourced locally from La Tortilleria in Kensington, who make their tacos on site. There is a general serving of pork, spicy sauce and a fried egg in each of the tacos. These are priced at $17, or $8.50 per taco, which is a steal in my opinion. Good for sharing or, if you’re like me, hogging them for yourself.

 

Image

 

The Gatherer (below) consists of poached eggs, wilted spinach, mushrooms, hash brown, grilled tomato, salsa verde on seeded sour dough. “The hash brown was awesome,” said my friend. “But there was nothing sensational about it except the hash brown.”

 

Image

 

The Hunter (below) is pretty much the same as The Gatherer except it has bacon instead of spinach. “The mushrooms and hash brown were the best. Everything else was nice. Could have had more relish,” was the feedback.

Image

Lastly, someone ordered the Avocado Smash (below) and added the coffee cured pork belly and chorizo. “Simply amazing. Loved it,” the wife said. Food verdict: 4/5

Image

 

Coffee: Formally Social Roasting Company, Streat now has its own coffee brand. Matt Hampton is in chief roaster and seems to  know what he’s doing, taking out a medal at the recent Golden Bean Awards.

Streat is the only not-for-profit coffee roaster in Australia, with every cent made from coffee sales put back into supporting Australia’s homeless population. Tip of the cap for that!

The coffee itself is vibrant and tasty. I ordered the trio of single origin taster (below) which comes out on a little tray. You get a shot of espresso, a small latte and a small cold drip. It was nice but it’s fair to say I was bouncing off the walls after it. 4/5

 

Image
Vibe: 
laid-back and friendly, this place isn’t pretentious like some of the trendy cafes you get around Fitzroy and Collingwood. This place knows what it is and doesn’t try too hard. We sat around a communal table, chatted and did The Age quiz. Would definitely return. 4.5/5Image
Service: 
friendly and unobtrusive, the staff did a splendid job. 4.5/5

Ka-ching: About $100 for the five of us. Good value! 5/5 

Image
ImageSTREAT on Urbanspoon

 

Hammer & Tong, Fitzroy

412 Brunswick St Fitzroy | 9401 6033
We went: Sunday June 15 2014 | Verdict: 17/25

Image

Mon 7am-4pm | Tues – Sat 7am-11pm | Sun  7am-4pm
http://www.hammerandtong.com.au/

In a nutshell: waiting to go there, waiting for a table, waiting for awesome, still waiting… Given the daily queues for this place I doubt this review will hurt them one bit.

Food: four words… SOFT SHELL CRAB BURGER.  Pretty as a picture, if you can leave it long enough to take one. At $12, this could be Melbourne’s best and tastiest brunch bargain.

Image

 

We also ordered the duck egg, oyster mushrooms, truffle butter etc. Again, points for presentation, however this one didn’t live up to the hype. It wasn’t offensive – quite the contrary, it was highly edible. It just wasn’t ‘WOW’. The oyster mushrooms seem to be more of a texture choice, not really adding any real taste to the dish.


Lastly, which in hindsight may have been a mistake, we had the corn. Why go to a fancy cafe and order corn, you ask. I think I am a sucker for a well-described dish. This didn’t appear as merely ‘corn’ on the menu, it read bbq corn cob, popcorn butter, pecorino, lime ($9). I think the popcorn butter and pecorino (which I had no idea was cheese) got me. Another underwhelming dish. 3/5

Coffee: didn’t catch the beans they use. I ordered a single origin pour over. It was a little bit hot which caused the coffee to be bitter. It settled down when it cooled and was acceptable. 3/5Image

Vibe: they’re clearly going for uber-cool. Whether they achieve it is debatable. It’s a weird space… narrow and a bit cramped. Wait staff look like they just stepped out of a modelling audition. That said, they are friendly and served us well. The door guy doubles up as a waiter and is pretty frantic as he moves on people once their meals are done and invites new people to fill the void. We got a little tired of waiting, especially when this place doesn’t quite deliver on its reputation. 3/5

Staff: one guy started name dropping, saying he used to work at Vue de Monde. Who cares?! Just make us tasty brunch, dude! 3/5

Ka-ching: < $40 for two pax… surprisingly outstanding value. 5/5Image

 
Hammer & Tong on Urbanspoon

Wee Jeanie, Yarraville

50 Anderson Street, Yarraville | 9687 7187
We went: Sun May 25 2014 | Verdict: 21.5/25

menu

Tues – Sat 7am- 4.30pm
Facebook page

In a nutshell: sister cafe of Yarraville staple Cornershop that punches well above its weight for food and coffee.

Food: I had the pulled ham hock ciabatta which was delicious. Served with spicy tomato kusundi, cheddar and cos, this fancy toasty was crunchy and tasty.

ciabatta

The braised white beans with poached gammon leg and fried egg was as pretty as a picture. The fried egg sits neatly atop the mound of white beans and then, dotted throughout the sauce are exquisite morsels of poached gammon that just melt in your mouth. Great combination of flavours.

white beans

These guys don’t seem too perturbed by having such a tiny kitchen. For this reason, they don’t have the most extensive menu. However, what they do have, they do well and quickly.  3.5/5

filter

Coffee: Brazilian single origin through the v60 pour over filter. Quite fruity. Very drinkable. Their blend is Supreme (organic and Fairtrade). 5/5

soy latte

Vibe: two options for dining, inside and out. While there is only a handful of seats inside, it’s a pleasant vibe. The baristas are good at what they do so it’s a good spot for watching them, observing the Yarraville foot traffic or diving into a paper. There are plenty of tables outside. It can get windy out there and it’s quite shady but on a warm day it’s a good spot. 4/5

 

barista

Service: very good service on the two occasions we’ve been here. Waiters are inconspicuous, which is how you want them sometimes. 4/5

Ka-ching: under $40 for two meals and coffee. 5/5

Wee Jeanie on Urbanspoon