Premises, Kensington

202 Bellair Street Kensington | 9376 7565
We went: Thursday May 22 | Verdict: 22.5/25

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http://thepremises.com.au/

In a nutshell: the best brunch cafe in Kensington bar none.

Food: I scanned the menu up and down but couldn’t seem to find anything that took my fancy. Then I laid eyes on the corned beef and potato hash with sauerkraut, mustard aioli and a poached egg. I probably don’t need to tell you how delicious this was for the description alone inspires salivation. But I will. The charred corned beef were like nuggets of gold buried amongst the sauerkraut, which by dish’s end was smothered in gooey fiery red egg, which minutes earlier perched proudly atop the brunch masterpiece. An aioli moat lay at the base of the food fortress, however would have been of little use in battle given how tasty it was (and the fact there was nothing to protect after just five minutes). This was one of my favourite Melbourne brunches.

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Usually when my wife and I do brunch, one of us gets food envy. Not so at Premises. Both of us claimed to have the best dish. She ordered the Mushies and Greens, which consisted of delectable mushrooms scattered amongst kale, seasonal fungi and a poached egg – all on buttered, crunchy organist multi-grain toast. “It was just literally delicious,” she said. “It was well seasoned and had this chilli kick. It was amazing.” The menu appears a little “salt heavy” with plenty of salty options, but this shouldn’t be viewed as a bad thing. There is an ad in the window for a new chef. Seems the current one is doing ok. 5/5

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Coffee: the folks at Premises take a lot of pride in their coffee. When we went they had three single origin options, two from Africa and one from South America. The providers were Seven Seeds and Market Lane. I ordered the Rwandan one from Market Lane. I have heard good things about Market Lane but never had their coffee. Fair to say, I’ll be having them again. The V60 pour over was brewed to perfection, bringing out the rich raspberry character of the beans without being too overpowering. I will be back to try the other ones. 5/5

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Vibe: this place probably won’t win any awards for interior design but what it does have going for it is there are a number of spaces to sit plus about 10 tables on the footpath. It’s a great place to sit in the window and watch the Kensington locals go about their business, or just chill and chew the fat. 4/5

Service: decent enough. The girl behind the counter (owner?) came out to apologise for the lack of tasting notes (I must have looked like a wanker) after they had all been stolen by other customers. She was manually typing up more (respect!) 4.5/5

Ka-ching: meals, plus coffees = around $60. 4/5

Three Bags Full on Urbanspoon

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Local Folk, Kensington

43 Epsom Road Kensington | 9939 7241
We went: Sat May 3 2014 | Verdict: 20.5 / 25

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In a nutshell: new kid on the Melbourne brunch scene, this neat brunch cafe stands alone in densely-residential Kensington neighbourhood.

We ate:

– beno
– pork belly sliders
– vegan brekky (composed of various sides and toast)

Food: MBS followers know how much I love a pork belly slider. There needs to be something pretty darn special on offer to trump it when the waiter comes to take orders. I can honestly say that Local Folk do a good slider! For $16.90, you get two quite large sliders with a generous amount of mouth-watering pork and crackle. The coleslaw is crunchy and the house-made mayo not too over-powering (there probably wasn’t enough mayo in hindsight). The fresh coriander added nice fragrance to the dish. The buns, although a tad burnt, were firm, hot and fresh. But the winner here is the pork — just like mum used to make, with the chewy-crunchy crackle barely hitting the sides.

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The wife chose an old fave, the Beno (eggs benedict). “The poached eggs were cooked perfectly, the hollandaise sauce was nice and the sourdough was freshly toasted and not too soggy,” she said. “There was nothing too special about the bacon, it was just regular bacon; the spinach was well-seasoned. I was pretty happy with it all.”

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My brother, who is vegan, had a bit of trouble finding a vegan-friendly dish so in the end ordered toast and added pretty much all the extras he could that were vegan-friendly (avo, spinach, hashy, beans, tomato and mushrooms). He was happy with everything, however it would be nice to see a few vegan-friendly options on the menu next time (they had only been open a week).

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The menu, overall, is reasonably ‘safe’. All of the traditional faves are there. There is a lunch menu that is available after 11.30am and plenty of kids’ meals that are just $5 a piece. 3.5/5

Coffee: there is nothing wrong with the coffee here. Very drinkable but like an introvert at a dinner party, doesn’t cause a fuss yet you want it to say something. The milk in my latte was the most prominent feature, and I don’t think it should be (my fault perhaps for not ordering a strong one). Have been loving my pour-over filters lately, really think this shows off the beans’ true character. Unfortunately there were no such options here. But that’s ok. I don’t think that’s the vibe they’re going for. It’s just honest cafe food here and regular coffee. That’s ok, right? 3/5

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Vibe: I wish I had come here when it was La Canella, the Italian restaurant that traded from this spot before it morphed into Local Folk. Then I could comment on the changes the owners have made. I know they’ve given it a paint job on the outside (the grey facade is anything but drab — it’s quite smart and professional… safe). What I like about Local Folk is there are three options for seating (if you can get a seat as it can get busy, especially on weekends). There’s out the front, inside or inside up the back, which is slightly elevated (this is where we sat). They’ve got some trendy lights and a number of tasteful hipster-type touches around the cafe that give it a laid-back, cool feel. For example, an old tricycle fills the space where it looks like a pizza oven once resided. For a place that has been open a week, there’s a real buzz here, in a good way. People seem happy here and it’s easy to see why — good food, good lighting (a generous amount of natural light fills the space), decent coffee and great, friendly service (see below). 4/5

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Price: $55 for the three of us (meals and coffee). Outstanding value! 5/5

Service: Couldn’t ask for more from our waiters. Friendly and service with a smile, nothing was too difficult. They were really apologetic when explaining their point-of-sale wasn’t yet up and running but still were efficient with getting the job done. Food was quick and so was the coffee. Very efficient operation… you wouldn’t know they had only been open a brief time. Apparently the owners formerly worked at the Roxy Hotel (where the owner was a chef) out Cranbourne way and this is their first attempt at running a cafe. So far, so good. Keep it up, guys! 5/5

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