114 Miller Street Preston | 9480 2500
We went: Sat April 5 2014 | Overall verdict: 20.5 / 25
In a nutshell: inconspicuous facade gives way to hip, artsy, cosy indoor/outdoor cafe in trendy north. Asian flavours and pre-loved furniture give this cool space point of difference.
The brunch team: me (MBS), wife, J and G.
– bada bing poached eggs
– pearl oyster poached eggs
– japanese pancake
Food: there is an obvious Asian vibe here and that translates to the menu with plenty of staple brunch options but with an Asian twist. Most of the dishes here are vegetarian, vegan or gluten intolerant and if they’re not, then they can cater. They pride themselves on obtaining their produce as ethically as possible and make nearly all their condiments on-site, which is a fair effort given the size of the kitchen.
I ate the Bada Bing Poached Eggs, which has the potential to be quite messy (like most dishes I eat!) so it’s just as well the sauce component arrives in a separate dish. The pearl in the oyster of this dish (excuse pun!) is the Napoli sauce, which is mouth-wateringly rich but not too over the top. You could say it was well balanced. The eggs were poached beautifully and the toast (sourdough) was fine: hot and with plenty of butter. The cream cheese on top was spot-on!
The Pearl Oyster Poached Eggs looked as pretty as a picture. Followers of this blog will recall I nominated the smoked ham hock from Twenty and Six Espresso as Melbourne’s most aesthetically pleasing dish. Well, I may have pulled the trigger too soon on that one as the Pearl Oyster Poached Eggs, or the POPE, is a deliciously good lookin’ dish too! The girls said “there were some strong flavours in this and a lot of the same”.
The Japanese Pancake was an interesting choice. It comes with house-made kupi drizzled on top (that’s Japanese mayo) and a sprinkling of seaweed. It was tasty but not mind-blowing. Don’t expect the world when it comes to food here… the chefs do an amazing job considering they’re operating in a kitchen the size of a shoebox. Food rating: 3.5/5
Coffee: they use Coffee Supreme beans, a specialty roaster from Abbotsford. The coffee is good, but what I love most about Supreme is the retro style cups it comes in. Really suits the decor and enhances the vibe. Sadly, exotic coffee options here like filtered, pour over, cold drip etc… but as I said, they aint got much space! Coffee rating: 3.5/5
The vibe: very cool. Think Pulp Fiction crossed with The Last Samurai… no, that’s lame. It’s retro, fitted out with pre-loved, trendy furniture, and Asian — with old-school Japanese umbrellas and motifs hanging about the place. The large table inside can attract a crowd, so consider that when selecting a place to sit. We received some (much appreciated) assistance while completing the Saturday Age quiz from a complete stranger. The outside area seats about 30 people or so. It’s a nice place to sit if the sun is out. The menus were particularly cool… they were decorated with summery colours yellow and blue and a sketch of an Arab riding a camel. and Vibe rating: 4.5/5
Price: $85 for the four of us. Value rating: 4.5/5
Service: the girl who served us was nice enough without being outstanding. Staff came and went and didn’t make a fuss. Neither good nor bad. The guy who fixed our bill was about as laid-back as they come. He didn’t even check to see what we ordered — just took my word for it. Lucky I’m honest… and not tight. Ha! Service rating: 4/5