Eat here: Miss Margaret, Melbourne (café/brunch)

Miss Margaret
14-18 Gilbert Rd, Preston

I’ve not been food blogging much lately; I’m getting a bit over it, to be honest. While I appreciate a creative menu and nice interior design, I am finding that I’m just not interested in being the first person to rush into a new place and sample the fancy menu in an uber-shiny new space anymore.  More and more, I’m valuing local places with a warm, homely feel, a less pretentious menu and actual friendly staff.

Enter Miss Margaret, in Preston. The neighbourhood is slowly but surely gentrifying, a far cry from the more working class suburb that my Italian family first settled into. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, particularly when it brings places like this.  Turning up on a Saturday morning  (when cafés are usually at their busiest and staff at their most stressed), we were greeted and seated not only with a smile, but with a genuine “how’s your morning been?” and a poured glass of water (as opposed to the usual huff and slide of the glasses and water bottle across the table at you). Unexpectedly and pleasantly surprisingly good start!

After our water was poured, we were offered hot drinks to start – they were ordered and brought out very quickly. Husband was very happy with his Cartel Coffee Roasters brew, and I was stoked with a good strong pot of Australian Tea Masters’ English breakfast. Food was ordered, too – usually there’ll just be one item that’ll jump out straight away, but there were quite a few we had our eyes on this time…

Husband went with a savoury option, smashed avo and saganaki on sourdough with a poached egg, grilled asparagus and lemon pepper. He loved it – first time we’ve seen saganaki with smashed avo, and can’t understand why now; it’s unreal!! Even the vegetable element that would usually get a cursory taste before being dismissed was entirely devoured. Well done Miss Margaret; you’re the first one to successfully get my husband to eat asparagus!

After going back and forth between sweet and savoury, I ended up going with the coconut crumpets with coconut yoghurt, toasted coconut and raspberries. I also asked for the peach syrup on the side, because fructose isn’t my friend. The lovely lady looking after us let me know that they were actually using plum syrup – I told her it didn’t really matter, all stone fruits are the enemy with fructose hating tummies, I’d be more than happy with just the coconut yoghurt and berries. She had a word to the chef who followed her out with our breakfast, carrying a little pot of maple syrup for me to use instead. These are the little things that make all the difference; by that stage, they were pretty full up and the kitchen was getting busy, but he still took the time to pop out and bring the maple syrup himself. That is why these sweet little local neighbourhood places win out over the hottest new place with the most OTT social media campaigns by the people that brought you X, Y and Z every single time.

And they were the best damn crumpets I’ve ever had!!! They will be happening again, believe me! 

If the good, honest food (in their own words, “Our food is made using ingredients that are good for the mind and body. Seasonal fruit and vegetables that are high in vitamins and minerals are transformed into delicious smoothies and salads, and seeds and grains fill you up and provide you with protein and fibre. We don’t want you to go without the sweet things in life so our cakes, slices and muffins are made on site so you know there are no nasty preservatives.“),  the homey atmosphere and some of the best servive around isn’t enough to convince you, these legends are also all about helping those less fortune in their community:

Miss Margaret is a social enterprise café born out of a strong desire to help those in need. Our aim is to bring like-minded people together over a cup of coffee and a delicious plate of food, so that collectively we can help even more people than any one individual could. We do this by fostering a community spirit, donating proceeds from our café sales to various charities, holding special fundraising events, and employing refugees to help them develop new skills and networks within the local community.

There is a lot of sadness and inequality in the world and something we are passionate about is access to education for women in developing counties. Women in the developing world are often denied opportunities for education. When women miss out on education their prospects are limited, overall family income is low, it increases the likelihood of ill health, puts women and girls at risk of trafficking and exploitation, and limits the economic advancement of entire countries.

Everything you buy from us helps us help others because we donate part of our profits to charity! All the spare change you give to us in the café gets donated to charity and if you attend a charity dinner which we hold once a month, then $20 gets donated – all because you are eating and socialising with us and others!

Keep doing what you’re doing over there, guys; consider yourself plus two new customers 🙂

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