Proud Mary, St Ali & Seven Seeds
With a good friend of the crew leaving us in Brisbane and moving interstate, TCB took the skies for an expedition to the Mecca of Australian breakfast to turn bad news into an opportunity to sample Victoria’s finest eateries.
This trip had been on the cards for a while now, and with a multitude of options throughout the CBD and surrounding suburbs to experience, time was the only drawback. The goal of the trip was simple – to find the best food and bean combination available in the city.
Housed in the northern suburbs, specifically Carlton, day one began with a stroll down Lygon Street, which continued all the way through Fitzroy, and eventually to Collingwood. Still quite hungover from the late night before, and realising that it was no longer morning, all-day breakfast joints were now the option for the TCB team who refused to start the day with lunch. Informed by one of the locals at a corner shop that the originator of the all-day breakfast in Melbourne was just around the corner at Mario’s, finding a suitable location at 12:30 was not going to be an issue.
We eventually stumbled across the famous Proud Mary just off Smith Street, known for their famous monstrosity of a coffee machine, offering 8 different beans and a 1kg roaster.
A Nicaraguan Long Black and El-Salvadorian Flat White were the coffees of choice, which were presented hastily and with a smile from the more than accommodating waitress, who informed us that the beans were now Proud Mary’s own.
The menu presented many classics, however they all found a way to intrigue TCB. After the strong, well brewed South
American beans, complimented with a Port royal cigarette, our meals came out, and to our delight, they delivered on their promises of intrigue. Selections were – the avocado on rye topped with a tomato, onion and corn bruschetta dressed with a chilli oil and feta – and a crispy potato hash topped with buttered parsley, crispy bacon and a perfectly poached egg. The sauce, a bagna cauda – made with garlic, anchovies, olive oil and butter took the meal to another level. What a way to start the weekend – has put a lot of pressure on the upcoming venues.
Day 2 began in a similar fashion to the morning before. With the sounds of one of
Melbourne’s finest electronic acts still resonating from the early hours of the morning and alcohol still failing to process through TCB’s shot liver, a ride across the Yarra and onto South Melbourne’s St. Ali was visited in an attempt to refuel and get on with the day ahead. The website is quite unassuming, quite like the lane way that the cafe is situated in. Upon arrival, TCB is greeted by a member of staff who informs the hungry patrons that a 20 minute wait is on the cards. TCB is intrigued, with only a quick peer inside before being ushered out again, and with stomachs turning, we
were just hoping that it would be worth the wait. There is no doubting the popularity of this place – as not only is there a full cafe both inside and out – there is also being breakfast raced across the lane to patrons who had created makeshift tables in order to consume with haste.
When TCB’s name was finally called to the door, we came ready. Ready for perfection. Seated in the most central table in the room, the place was so busy that a shared breakfast was the only thing on offer. Coffees were the first order of business, and for a second day, handcrafted coffees were on offer. Beans to be brewed were from Brazil, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama and Columbia. Choices were a Columbian long mac exuding loads of character, with crisp lime and raspberry cordial as the initial taste, followed by a beautiful creamy chocolate finish – and – an intensely aromatic and fruity double shot flat. Both lived up to the hype – and TCB could have gone home hungry and happy right then. But alas, food was on the cards, and let me tell you it did not disappoint. Inviting us to the Middle East
with their creative menu, the selections were ‘groundhog day’, an egg and bacon pide with radish, mustard and an apple remoulade, served as a breakfast
burger to take note of, with the highlight being the combination of the French Tartare and Mustard, smeared over rashers of crispy bacon – and ‘my mexican cousin’ a secret recipe of corn fritters, baby spinach, haloumi, kasundi (tomato relish) and two poached eggs. Just to be as gluttonous as physically possible, TCB adds
an avocado and feta mash. The combination of perfectly poached eggs, two cheeses, creamy avocado, a spicy relish and crisp corn fritters has literally blown TCB’s mind. The food engineers behind this dish at St Ali certainly left no stone unturned – and let me tell you – they have created a breakfast masterpiece.
Day 3 was our final chance to experience the greatness that is Melbourne in the morning. Today we ventured through the university grounds and passed a variety of average looking cafeteria’s in the process, however, we had bigger things in store – the famous Seven Seeds location in Carlton, known by many for the best brew in the state. So with that in mind, know that TCB did not come here with the mindset that the food would rival either Proud Mary or St Ali.
The food was prepared with fresh ingredients, was presented well and was tasty! The field mushrooms came with a poached egg and were coated with a pesto and herb glaze which was a little overpowering for TCB. Further, the sweet Brioche was another conflicting taste which was possibly uncalled for on the plate. The prosciutto came served with feta, and orange chutney dip which combined well with the bread, which was coated with olive oil.
In summary, during the trip to Melbourne, TCB has stumbled across some of Melbourne’s finest breakfast spots – and we did it over the course of one weekend. However, just through conversations with the owners of the places we visited, it became apparent that there is a plethora of contenders for best breakfast in the city yearning for the attention of TCB.
Melbourne, TCB will be back.
Reviewed by the Genius.
P.s. We snuck in a quick feed in Degraves Lane before we left – another must visit when visiting.
And, I’ve decided that putting this weekend on a scale of 1 – 10 would be doing the experience an injustice.