Amongst the narrow streets of Yarraville, sits Cobb Lane – a cafe and artisan bakery known for its sweet offerings and freshly baked goods. The star of the show is pastry chef Matt Forbes – with an impressive resume ranging from Michelin star Noma, to hatted restaurants such as Vue De Monde. Cobb Lane was born amongst heavy fanfare, having previously supplied various Melbourne cafes with beloved sweet treats. There are no boring cakes at this Yarraville landmark.
Sweet highlights include the Yuzu White Chocolate Tart, a celebration of the Asian citrus fruit, balanced by clouds of indulgent white chocolate and buttery pastry. If decadence is more your style, consider the salted caramel and cardamon tart. The lustrous glisten of the dark chocolate filling, would make any chocolate devotee swoon . This tart is for serious sweet lovers and best shared, with layers of salted caramel and dark chocolate accentuated with highlights of cardamon. For the next creation, a thin disc of tempered chocolate rests upon dollops of jasmine infused lemon curd, chocolate mousse and a soft pistachio base. Simply yum.
Shizuku is a Japanese restaurant, newly opened amongst the Vietnamese eateries of Victoria St. Ramen joints seem to be opening left, right and centre in Melbourne – from Fukuryu to Hakata Gensuke in the CBD. Shizuku’s differentiating factors are its craft beer offerings and the peculiar ramen burger.
Novelty is like receiving a new toy. The first bite of a cronut, your first taste of McDonalds or queuing for the latest, trendiest restaurant . The ramen burger is a perfect example of novelty in food. Similar to many great food trends that have emanated from New York, the burger is a combination of two disparate food groups that have formed a questionable new food. In all honesty, a ramen burger sounded weird at first, but as those youngsters say – “YOLO”.
Surprisingly, the burger tasted decent. Shizuku’s version contained a sizeable chunk of braised pork belly, sandwiched between two ramen noodle patties. The accompanying sauce was sweet and the pork belly was melt in the mouth goodness. My only disappointment was that the ramen patties lacked seasoning. Is the ramen burger the next cronut? We’ll let the Melbournites decide.
This diminutive corner cafe is North Melbourne’s hidden secret. Dozens of egg whisks swing above a glass cabinet, that encase an alluring array of baked goods: fluffy lemon chiffon, layers of red velvety goodness and endless buttercream. The cakes are a mixture of traditional and surprising flavour combinations, baked with love and expertise. The star of the show is the Red Velvet: layers of moist, fluffy red velvet smothered in a rich buttercream and sprinkled with crunchy chocolate waffle balls. The slices are huge and a perfect end to a savoury brunch nearby. Birthday coming up? Whole cakes are also available for $60.
Upgrades to Footscray station, newsworthy Jam doughnuts and a prevalence of trendy cafes and gastropubs (Station Hotel!) means Footscray is steadily losing its ‘dodgy’ reputation. Who knows? Maybe some of our ‘precious’ east-sider friends will venture to the west for a taste *wink . The following is a guide to the top brunch places in Footscray:
The market side of Footscray has been screaming for a quality cafe. Dreary eyed workers rush for the city trains, yearning for a hit of caffeine to break the catatonic morning slumber. Owner Phuoc Duong has chosen a prime location, with Cafe Cui situated across from the station and the 82 tram terminus. At first glance, it looks no different from any standard cafe serving ciabatta sandwiches or oily schnitzel rolls *yawn, but appearances can be deceiving. The menu has a slightly southern flair serving lobster rolls, pork sliders and Philly cheesesteaks.
Enticed by the signage advertising the Lover Lover Lobster Roll, I entered for a taste of lobster heaven. Cafe Cui are generous with the lobster. Big chunks of lobster pieces smothered in house made mayonnaise in not one, but two bread rolls, served with a side of herb fries makes for a content belly. Definitely loving the re-invigorated menu.
Seddon is a trendy area in the Western suburbs, yet to be inundated by hipsters. Residents love their brunch. Their addiction is fuelled by an abundance of cafes, all walking distance from the quaint victorian style housing that gives the suburb it’s old world charm. Imagine kids sipping on babycinos and leashed puppy eyed dogs salivating for a taste of that sweet, sweet bacon. The following brunch destinations are within the Victoria Street area:
1. Seddon Deadly Sins
A cafe themed around the Seven Deadly Sins is a genius idea. If your a Melbournite and a regular reader of food blogs, I’m guessing that yours is gluttony? Touche. Seddon Deadly sins is one of the older cafes on the block. Ample competition sustains the consistently delicious food. Gluttony was our sin, devouring crispy pork belly with a side of creamy mash, beer battered haloumi and a beautifully decorated caramel macadamia cheesecake. Don’t judge, I see calories as delicious points.
Every Wednesday night until August 27th, QVM plays host to the Luna 1878 Winter Night Market. The historic sheds are transformed into a winter spectacle of twinkling fairy lights, live music and crackling fire pits. The illuminated roof, lit with a multitude of vibrant colours, acts as a backdrop to the rising smoke of sizzling grills and the aroma of wholesome winter food ready for piggish consumption.
The Summer Night Markets have always been a great success with masses of hungry crowds patiently queueing for a taste of international street food. It was only natural for the idea to perpetuate into the winter months, with Melbourne food bellies rumbling a sweet hurrah. The usual favourites are here for winter, joined by big name stalls such as Hammer & Tong, Mamak, Wonderbao and 400 Gradi. Hot bowls of lobster bisque, steaming hot mussels, suckling pig, duck waffles and mulled wine are examples of the mouth watering options on offer. I highly recommend the pork belly/fried chicken gua bao from Wonderbao, with a bowl of creamy clam chowder and a caramelised sweet treat from the creme brûlée cart. Simply yum.
Rain, hail or shine, the sheds and outdoor heaters will shelter you against the winter elements. We failed to notice the pouring rain, happily distracted and sheltered by the gratification of our content bellies. With the variety on offer, get ready to loosen the belt buckle and warm the winter tastebuds. With only two weeks left to attend, the Luna 1878 Night Markets await your visit!