Posts Tagged ‘Breakfast’
Min Lokal. Sweedish for My Local, apparently. Although the guy that owns it is a Kiwi. Once upon a time this building housed a milk bar, then (randomly) a singles dating service, then a vegetarian cafe, THEN a bakery, and now Min Local – a funky cafe-cum-brunchy type spot that I happen to like very much. It’s kind of in Fitzroy and kind of in Collingwood. It depends where you draw the line.
I eat here at least once a week. I almost always order the Dooba eggs (pictured above). Dooba eggs are baked eggs with North African spiced pumpkin and minced beef ($16). To be honest, we could skip the eggs and I’d be satisfied with mashed pumpkin and minced beef on toast for breakfast.
What do you need to know? It’s open seven days a week and serves breakfast things and lunch things. Also serves Supreme coffee and there is beer and wine. Expect to get cosy – it’s two massive communal tables up front and one in a side room – seating about 20-30 really but the turnover is good. A cute (yet slim) courtyard out the back provides the only smaller tables.
There are newspapers and other things to read too. I personally prefer Min Lokal when it’s quiet – more space to stretch out and not having to sit close up next to strangers. Inspiration for taking Monday’s off work and lolling around at Min Lokal writing blog posts. Just maybe.
422 George Street Fitzroy
(03) 9417 0333
Sun 9am – 4pm
A few of you may know, from following my adventures on Twitter, that I’ve been back in the waitressing game for a little while now. That’s why I haven’t been blogging as much. I’m working 55 hour weeks across two jobs. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining – I’m loving it.
For most of the time since I started working as a writer about three years ago I’ve been pretty happy to be out of the game. I was tired, burnt out, haggard. It was time to go do something else. After 10 years on the boards, at least half of those as a full time employee, and five years of university study amongst it all, I was done.
But I’m back. I missed it too much in the end. The people, the late hours, going out to bars after 1am, eating Chinese food at 3am. Getting the first tram home. Advising tourists on where to eat for the rest of their time in Melbourne, meeting people from all over the world, right in my very restaurant.
Currently, it’s pretty much the only aspect of my life that doesn’t make me feel completely out of my depth. I need to wait tables. This is my life-line. I have a whole new appreciation for waiting tables. Where as before, I needed the money to survive, now I just need the affirmation, the affirmation that there is something I can do to make a lot of people happy, and this is something uselfull I know how to do that makes me feel good about myself.
Because waitressing is about more than just carrying plates.
Sunday is my only full day off at the moment. No gym, no writing (okay sometimes there is writing), no waitressing (never, golden rule, no Sundays no matter what). Just pure, unadulterated: books, films, beers and friends. Sunday means breakfast out as well, but I tell you what, good breakfast out in Hawthorn is getting bloody hard to find.
Sometimes I pop into new-ish Bread and Jam for Frances – in the hope of a simple, relaxing, newspaper reading, latte drinking hour away from my life.
It is ALMOST good. I NEARLY love it. But not quite.
Problem? Inattentive, inexperienced wait staff. Is it something about Hawthorn? Does this area seem to be devoid of decent waiters? Because I haven’t had good service anywhere in Hawthorn in the six months I’ve lived here and it’s a real shame. But lets start with all the good things.
Bread and Jam for Frances is a beautiful space. Perched at the back of Readings bookshop in Hawthorn it’s an automatic double win:
1. hello, in a bookshop! (locating anything in a book shop ill make it more appealing to me – and I’m already pretty keen on food so it’s a no brainer I’d want to come here)
2. it’s a lovely, calm, light-filled space that provides a wonderful respire from the revolting, vile, eye-burning hideousness that is Glenferrie Road (seriously, Glenferrie, you suck)
It like to visit Bread and Jam for Frances because the food is good. Bread and Jam for Frances is a sister cafe to North Fitzroy’s Dench, so the quality of most things is excellent. It’s easy to see that real attention to detail has been paid to fresh, quality, sustainable, whole-food ingredients. The bread is amazing, obviously (love their grainy bread), and someone who can actually cook is in charge of the kitchen. I like their range of soft drinks and juices too.
So what went so wrong on the floor? Take my last visit there for an example:
Coffees, I had two. Had to call a waitress over to order both of them, but on a Sunday, I should have been offered. Especially by the young lass who cleared my first cup when I was only halfway through my meal. Not that anyone was eager to clear my plate when it was practically licked clean. A kinfe and fork together at 6 o’clock still means “finished” right? I had to ask a waitress to take it away after 10 minutes.
There were only about three tables in the whole place for the hour I was there (I love to eat in almost empty cafes). But my tables wasn’t the only one that went unserved. The big sign near the register said “please be seated, table service provided”.
Two staff were busy folding boxes for cakes while a young family tried to read newspapers around the empty plates they’d finished eating from about 20 minutes prior. Seems I wasn’t the only one.
I dropped my knife at some stage. I’m pretty clumsy, especially on Sundays. I was almost the only customer and the cafe was deathly quiet at the time. There were four waiters on the floor and well within earshot. None of them heard a thing. I’m sorry, but a half decent waiter should be able to hear a piece of cutlery drop at 100 paces – and be able to tell you whether is was a knife, fork or a spoon, while they are walking towards the table in question with a replacement.
They were very pleasant waiters, may I add. Smiley, accommodating (if you got up out of your chair and went to the counter to ask for anything – there was little offering, as we have discussed). But it was classic mistake after classic mistake, almost all of them caused by not paying attention to what was happening on the restaurant floor. What do your customers need? – this should always be the first, most important element.
Now, I know it was a Sunday, and good staff are hard to find. But, I don’t know. It’s not really that hard, these kids just needed a guiding hand. And if I was paying staff Sunday rates I probably wouldn’t want to see them slacking off. Although I’m very, very glad Bread and Jam for Frances is nearby (and I’m not the only one).
Bread and Jam for Frances
1/701 Glenferrie Road Harthorn, enter through Readings bookshop, or the side street next to Coles
I did once have this lovely fantasy about moving back to Melbourne and living in Brunswick, you know, that impossibly hip suburb with all those lovely new cafes, those cafes that only seat 11 people at a stretch so it pays to be a local because an hour and 15 minutes is long way to go on public transport without any breakfast yet and only a lick and a promise of getting a table anywhere in the next two hours (and breathe!).
So, yeah, that didn’t really work out so well and now I live in Hawthorn – so I’m kind of out on a limb with the whole weekend breakfast in Brunswick thing. Mental note, must buy a car and also learn to drive. Until then, it’s put up with a tram, a train, and a tram at 9am on a Sunday morning or learn to eat local.
This local search recently led me to New York Tomato (NYT), nestled into an awning of wooden beams and sail cloths at the corner of New and York Streets in Richmond, only a few steps away from bustling Bridge Road. Of good repute, this local hideaway (for it’s easy to miss) for Richmond-y types is not only a cool place to hang out, the food is alright too.
Split over three levels, NYT takes full advantage of their lower courtyard space, with plenty of room to stretch out with a newspaper – if you can find one, I suggest BYO. The uppermost level has a great warehouse apartment vibe going on, the 40 or so seats up and down filling quickly on a weekend, but they do take bookings, a blessing in this current climate of “first come first served” nonsense.
The NYT weekend brunch menu is adventurous and varied, with many options leaning to a Middle Eastern vibe – a healthy spattering of sumac and labne make frequent appearences on the menu and a large number of dishes involve some kind of ham product, namely chorizo. There are also plenty of vegetarian and vegan options, with a blessed tolerance by the staff and (minuscule) kitchen to unusual dietary requirements.
Moving along to the food I ate, a basic plate of poached eggs arrived perfectly cooked yet comically perched on one tiny piece of toast – the accompanying mushrooms were hot and plentiful, if not a teeny bit oily. An open faced BRAT (that’s bacon, rocket, avocado and tomato) topped with a poached egg appeared to be a crowd pleaser.
A plate of poached eggs, asparagus, preserved lemon and basil on sourdough is an unusual but successful flavour combination, but the chef could do to use restraint with the preserved lemon, it’s flavours unfairly dominating this dish. Daily egg specials are also a winner, and rest assured there are many menu options that do not feature poached eggs, or any egg at all.
Coffee, it’s decent and the staff are friendly, although I have heard murmurs this is not always the case, you will have to find out for yourself.
I’d say that a visit to New York Tomato is probably not on-par with actually having breakfast in New York, but on a lovely spring morning in Melbourne it’s a none too shabby option for dining east-side.
New York Tomato
6 New Street, Richmond
Open 7 days, breakfast and lunch