Thursday, 18 August 2011
On previous visits to Melbourne I've never been able to stumble upon the lane way gems that people so insistently tell me are there. So before my visit last week I decided to do a quick bit of research, print myself out a map and go in search of a decent couple of breakfasts and lunches.
First up was Hardware Societe. When I found the small café I was surprised by it's diminutive size. How can somewhere so small be creating such hype? In many ways this place is the perfect sterotype of the Australian café that we don't get in the UK. Compact, lots of staff, bright, share table, coffee focused and with it's own quirky style. I decided to go for the bircher museli which came with raspberries, poached pears, chopped macadamias and blueberries. A little bit different and a nice start to the day without being the best bircher I've ever had.
A while ago I remember reading about Earl Canteen which is conveniently located under my office block. It would almost have been wreckless not to visit for lunch. I went for the crisp skin free-range pork belly, apple, cabbage & fennel coleslaw, wilted silverbeet, baguette. It is as much of a mouthful to say as it was to eat. Everything about it was delicious from the pork crackling right through the coleslaw to the baguette. However, it was just a bit too hard to eat and at $13.50 for a sandwich a bit too expensive to turn me into a regular. I hate to sound boring, but in your work suit you want something easy to eat and that isn't going to leave you with greasy fingers.
Finally I had breakfast at Solarino. I hadn't heard of this place before, but it was a top rated breakfast spot on Urban Spoon located not too far from my hotel and office. I ordered the scrambled eggs, with maple glazed bacon and avocado on sourdough toast. The maple glazed bacon was wafer thin, crispy and had a great maple flaovur. The best bacon I've had since Revolver. Unfortunately I felt the bacon was both the dishes greatest strength and weakness, it dominated everything else. I found myself wanting something equally robust to balance the bacon. Perhaps a nice little tomato chutney? I found myself eating the various components separately to enjoy their individual flavours as together they didn't work.
The Hardware Societe
120 Hardware Lane
500 Bourke Street (enter via Lt Bourke)
279 Little Collins St (it is just off Little Collins down a small lane way)