Not a week goes by that I don’t venture out into the burbs’ to get my breakfast/brunch fix. I live for those weekend days that I get to catch up with friends and eat good food and drink good coffee. Isn’t that what life is about? Melbourne IS the café capital of Australia (even if I do say so myself. But it is okay) and competition is getting intense with new spots popping up every weekend, or so it seems! Of course I take it upon myself to try each and every one – that’s right, taking one for the team guys! Here are my top three recent discoveries.
For those who know me, you will be well versed in my obsession with Merchants Guild – a café in Melbourne’s Bentleigh East area. I’m still yet to find a breakfast, brunch or lunch spot that satiates my cravings the way Merchants does. I love everything about it; the vibe, the coffee, the food and the service. So, needless to say, when the owners of Merchant Guild recently opened a new café I was thrilled and made sure I got there as soon as was physically possible! DISCLAIMER: This café bases its ideology on ‘health’ foods.
If you’re hoping to order a greasy hangover cure or a side of hollandaise then look elsewhere – this isn’t the place you’ll enjoy. Walk Don’t Run is based on the concept of mindful eating. They use only the best organic and fresh produce available, which means dishes do come at a price. The menu is mostly typical breakfast foods (eggs, bircher etc.) however some items offer more of a lunch appeal. For coffee, your option is French press (batch brew) only, but it’s done very well and even latte lovers are urged to give it a go. We ordered four of the dishes to share between three of us. They were all AH MAZING, besides the chia seed parfait – this one let us down a little bit due to lack of flavour. The soba noodle and chicken salad (pictured) is divine, I’ve literally been fantasising about this dish since we finished it. The café itself is very small, so ever since Walk Don’t Run was featured on Broadsheet (they ruin everything), you can expect to wait at least 10-15 minutes for a table on the weekend. Walk Don’t Run is the perfect brunch spot for the health conscious patron, or for anyone who enjoys fine breakfast food.
So I hesitated in whether I should write this review or not. And then I thought, what is the point of giving every place I review accolades? So here’s my honest write up on Hendricks Café.
Hendricks has recently joined the long list of Melbourne brunch spots and has a connection to my fave spot – Merchant’s Guild (the owner of Hendricks was formally a barrister at Merchant’s) – which is why I was pretty keen to give it a go. First off, their menu contains some pretty out there dishes, but nothing really tickled my fancy. I felt pretty nonchalant about it, and couldn’t really decide on anything (but not in a good way where you’re torn between 2 or 3 amazing options!). I landed on the mushroom dish that came on rye toast with a dollop of truffle mascarpone – I had to order a poached egg on the side as did the girls; not many dishes with eggs to choose from which was disappointing. SO…this is where my attitude went from ‘okay so maybe their menu just isn’t for me,’ to ‘not okay,’ and yes I am a brunch snob but I just really enjoy and appreciate good service, presentation and food. Back to the point, out come our meals, and then in a little dish our four poached eggs – all stacked up on top of each other in a pool of luke warm water. It was a massive appetite killer. Was it really necessary to serve them like that? Is it really that hard to just put them onto the plates? Anyway…to give them credit, my meal was actually surprising quite nice bar the 90% hard-boiled egg I was plated up (on the side dish *insert laughing crying face emoji*). Ultimately, I would not return to Hendricks Café, but if you’re in the area it’s certainly not as bad as I am alluding – just not quite up to the standards of many other Melbourne eateries.
This little gem opened its doors earlier this year and can be found on the less congested side of Bentleigh. All items on the District Brewer’s menu are quite ‘fancy’ and they play the gourmet card in transforming your traditional breakfast/brunch favourites into carefully crafted, almost fine dining meals. All options are very reasonably priced as well, so you won’t be forking out a ridiculous amount for your Saturday brunch date. The food is yummy and there’s something on the menu for everyone, including those who just want something simple, like a burger or a ham and cheese toasted sandwich (or croque madame if you’re a more sophisticated ‘bruncher’) – btw the croquet madame is actually amazing. I think I need one right now. The drinks menu is just as interesting as the food menu, where you can add peanut butter to your hot chocolate (yes!). Ultimately, I think that the District Brewer has a lot of potential. It’s still a newbie, but once they refine their menu and flavours (as some dishes are in need of that extra somethin’ somethin’) this spot will be one to come back to. Definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area.
I love food. Hope you enjoyed this read and will be able to check some of these places out for yourself!