Eat here: The Old Milk Bar Cafe, Thornbury (brunch)

The Old Milk Bar Cafe
144 Dundas St, Thornbury

Back in Melbourne and back to weekend brunches! And don’t I feel just a bit silly not having visited this place sooner… We’ve been living a stone’s throw from the Old Milk Bar Cafe for a few years, now, and it’s one of those places that’s been on my radar but I just haven’t gotten around to visiting.

We finally made it to the sweet, little, old milk bar converted into a cafe over the weekend. High Street in Thornbury is getting to be a pretty popular location for cafes, but this one’s tucked off the main drag. If you don’t know about it, you’re not likely to stumble upon it, and that was instantly obvious – staff were greeting a lot of customers by name, which was really lovely to see 🙂

I adored the space itself – little touches like the old THE AGE sign on the wall under the kitchen were the perfect throw back to the old days. While the inside of the cafe isn’t enormous (with seating for around 8 on small tables and one larger communal table that seats another 8 or so), the outside patio seating was pretty spacious. And the menu looked great! Husband’s choice was made quickly; he went with the smashed avo – 2 slices of toast with an absolute mountain of smashed avocado, goats curd, and a panko crumbed egg on top. He gave big points for the amount of avocado and how perfectly oozy the egg yolk was, but was a little sad the panko crumbs didn’t stay crunchy.

My choice was even easier again – lemon lime ricotta hotcakes with blueberries. Yes, please!! These were hands down the lightest, fluffiest, most delicious hot cakes I’ve ever had. No competition. No other was to describe it. Absolutely perfect. Swimming in the most delicious citrus curd, and plenty of juicy blueberries. I was told these were a new addition to the menu, and I hope they stay on the menu – I’ll be back for them again. They were magic.

Vietnam was a good time, but no one does brunch like Melbourne. And when places like this are making food this delicious, it’s good to be home 🙂

The Old Milkbar Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Eat here: Sartoria, Melbourne (café/brunch)

Sartoria
115 Plenty Rd, Preston
http://www.sartoria.com.au/

Sartoria was once a successful dressmaking, bridal and evening wear business from the 70’s through the 90’s created by J & C Agricola. In modern day, the whole space has been transformed into a friendly, warm light filled café and eatery adorned with machinery and novelties straight from it’s dress factory days.

Walking into this place last weekend gave me the biggest hit of nostaglia. My mum’s parents were both sartorialists; Nonna a dress maker and Nonno a tailor. I used to spend a lot of school holidays at their house, sitting with Nonna in her sewing room, watching her work. I would go with her to her friend’s houses while she measured them up for their next new outfit. She taught me to sew by hand (and knit), how to cut patterns from fabric, how to pin and stitch and hem and sew on buttons. I used to stitch together little outfits for my dolls and sisters, design dresses on Nonna’s scrap graph paper, and spend hours flicking through Nonna’s old fashion magazines from Italy. With all the beautiful old Singer desks and machines, Sartoria felt just like home.

The space inside is enormous, with ample seating and room to move. The little touches like the glass bowls filled with buttons and beads, and the fashionista slide show beaming through a projector make a place like this, and they’ve done really well on that side of things.

When it came to the food, the menu reads brilliantly, however I’ve heard lots of mixed reviews. While we mulled over our options, we started with tea (from Storm in a Teacup) for me and coffee (from Where’s Marcel?) for husband – both delicious and brought out quickly, great start.

I especially loved the little timer that came out with my tea, and the beautiful tea cup it as served with – again, little things that make a big difference.

We finally decided on food; husband went with The Machinist ($19.80): crispy pork hock, crumbed black pudding, romesco salsa, poached eggs and crostino. While the pork hock didn’t look like much being compressed into soldiers, once he started pulling it apart, there was suddenly a whole lot more. And it was good. The black pudding, he described as a “ball of flavour,” He said it was comfortably the best thing on the plate, and he’d go back again just to eat that. Unfortunately, though, his poached eggs were overcooked and the yolks were set inside, so no runny, gooey egg yolk to sauce it all together. Massive let down for what was otherwise one of his favourite breakfast dishes this year.

I had a really hard time picking a dish, but was ultimately feeling something sweet, and went with The Designer ($17.50): buffalo yoghurt hotcakes with activated nuts, green tea cream, caramelised pineapple and salted kaya. First up, I had to question the mention of activated nuts on the menu, because there were barely any on there! Other than that, though, I couldn’t fault the dish – the buffalo yoghurt made the hotcakes super moist, surprisingly fluffy and not overly sweet, they were perfectly cooked through, and the green tea cream generously plonked on top was delicious. I loooooved the caramelised pineapple as well as the bits of fresh fruit; this is the kind of breakfast I love going out for and treating myself to!

Overall, I think my hesitations were very much unfounded – while the over-done eggs were a big disappointment, we both agreed they got a lot more right than they got wrong, and we’re both already looking forward to our next visit. My only regret is that Nonna Gemma isn’t still around, because I think she’d have absolutely loved Sartoria 🙂

 

Sartoria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Eat here: The Glass Den, Melbourne (cafe)

The Glass Den
15 Urquhart St, Coburg
http://www.theglassden.com.au/

We’re officially well and truly into party season now, which means lazy last minute weekend brunches are going to be few and far between until, like, February now. So when I realised I actually had time for a lady date yesterday morning with my bestie, I jumped at it. And even better, I finally got the change to visit The Glass Den, a cafe that  had been on my radar and to-visit list since May.

The Glass Den is a beautiful, naturally lit space tucked into the grounds of old Pentridge Prison (built in 1850, opened for “guests” a year later, and closed for business in 1997), at the old D-division gatehouse. The menu is built around ethical and sustainable practices, with a heavy focus on vegetarian, vegan and organic options; super special-diet friendly! They do breakfast, lunch, fresh juices, St Ali coffee and cocktails (happy hour is a thing there!), but we met on Saturday morning for breaky.

It was the coconut hotcakes for my girl, with coconut mousse, toasted almond clusters, grilled banana and maple syrup, and it was just pretty as a picture…

And, thankfully, the hotcakes were every bit as delicious as they look! For me, it was the maple toasted muesli with natural yoghurt, berry compote and your choice of milk (soy for me), sans banana, because I hate that stuff. That’s a damn good bowl of muesli; lightly spiced, nice and crunchy, lots of juicy sultanas, and the berries and yoghurt were perfect with it. Deceptively big bowl, too.

The menu was incredible and inventive, and I wish there was more stomach space available to try more – the breakfast soba and the coconut ice cream with caramel popcorn both caught my attention. On top of the great menu, the service was friendly and quick, the cafe itself is gorgeous, plenty of parking available, and definitely somewhere I’ll be visiting again. And the best part is that they’re open daily, so if you manage to get a quiet morning between now and Christmas, they’re gonna be there for you whenever you need! Have a great week, kids 🙂
The Glass Den Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato