Friday the 11th of the November 2011 was indeed an auspicious day. I finished my last exam in my undergraduate degree. After that, I went crazy meeting up with people I have not caught up with in a while since I became a hermit. Which explains three brunches in the span of just as many days. Living in Melbourne, Brunch is almost always the most obvious choice.
Brunch has recently become my favourite meal. I like to get out of bed thinking of food and a much-needed cup of hot drink! The day I went to Monsieur Truffe was a prime example. It was a gloomy, rainy Melbourne spring Saturday, but I have already promised a friend to have brunch with her. So off to Brunswick East we went. The weather makes it near-impossible to find parking near the premise and when we finally found one, we had to wait for a short while after we entered the signature red door of Monsieur Truffe. Obviously the rain did not stop people to come to this chocolate heaven! We were soon seated in one of the communal tables near the door. The interior reminds me of Seven Seeds with its warehouse-chic feel and lots of windows for natural light.
We both ordered a cup of their popular hot chocolate each (I figured we got the houseblend as we did not specify the type of hot chocolate we wanted). The cup of liquid black gold was what I expected it to be; smooth and chocolatey rich without it being too cloyingly sweet. The small japanese cup held the perfect amount of hot chocolate.
I came to Monsieur Truffe excited to try their authentic French pastries, so even though I was disappointed to find that they have sold out most of the pastries but their plain Croissant, I was adamant to order it. And boy, was I glad. It was what I wanted from a croissant and more. The pastry came with a small jar of hazelnut chocolate (think nutella but thinner in consistency with a stronger hazelnut taste) and the waitress kindly warmed up my croissant at my request.
The pastry was crispy and crumbly on the outside, soft and buttery on the inside. It was so good I had to get one for the boy who was waiting at home and managed to convince my dining companion to bring one for the road as well!
Their menu is quite extensive, ranging from savoury to sweet and chocolatey brunch food. My dining companion had their pan fried carrot cake (forgot to take a picture, sorry!). The carrot cake came with “dust and gels” (according to the menu!) and some kind of flavoured mascarpone. The dust and gels were interesting. We thought it was a carrot derived gelatinised gel and probably dried carrot or something. While the spices shine through the cake, I thought the dish was nothing special. I was not sure what the purpose of pan-frying the cake was. The inside was still cold, the outside was not crispy. Interesting concept, though.
Would I come back? Definitely for the hot chocolate and pastries!
I was no stranger to Auction Rooms. Having worked for quite a while on the same stretch of street and around the area, Auction Rooms in an establishment my friends and colleagues frequent. So when a friend asked where should we meet, Auction Rooms top the list.
Again the interior was lovely, wide open spaces, lots of natural light. I came on a weekday which means no waiting required.
I started my meal with a cup of magic. The coffee at Auction Rooms does not disappoint, as usual. I’m no coffee expert but I like the strength of the coffee, the lack of bitter aftertaste and the smooth milky finish.
(and no it did not come with an ugly rim of coffee froth around it, I took a few sips before remembering to take a picture of it)
I was not feeling particularly hungry, so when my dining companion offered to shared a dish I happily obliged. She eats halal food (which to her pretty much means no pork). Then, things get difficult! Most of the savoury dishes at Auction Rooms is not halal-friendly. So we settled on a vegetarian dish of chickpea stew. (apologies for not remembering the correct name). It came with two poached eggs, fresh parsley which added freshness to the dish and fresh bread cubes. It was a lovely meal! The herbs gave freshness to the dish, the eggs made it filling.
Would I come back? I already have!
Now, I can’t believe this is my first time at Hardware Societe! Those who frequent the cafe scene in Melbourne must have scoffed at me, thinking, “been there, done that..” lol! But bear with this newbie!
I thoroughly understand why everyone loved this place. It’s located right smack in the CBD without losing it’s small cafe charm. And the food was beyond yum!
It was crowded when I got there but it did not take too long to secure a table. I was really glad to sit on the bar right in front of the open kitchen as I get to see the chefs at work.
VX, my dining companion, and I did not waste much time in ordering. We got a cup of coffee each, cappuccino for me and a latte for her. I loved how there was heaps of chocolate powder on my coffee. It was sweet and chocolatey and left me licking my spoon long after I finished my coffee! The coffee though, was weaker than I would liked it to be. It was smooth and milky but was not full bodied enough for my liking. The cute doughnut ball on the side was a lovely touch.
I had coddled eggs while VX had cocette eggs with crab meat. As usual, our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. The portion was huge! The presentation for both dishes were very appetising. Cute and professional. I liked how mine came with a wooden tray with the contents lying neatly on top of it. We spied the head chef making sure that the order of the toppings on top of the bread was the same in every dish! VX’s dish looked very appetising with all the ingredients piled in an organised mess on top of the eggs.
Taste wise, the bread was soft and chewy, the eggs were done just right with the whites set enough and the yolk still runny. The toppings on my bread “soldiers” were very tasty (I, for the life of me, could not tell what they were. There was a mushroom and garlic topping and a smoked salmon one but could not figure out what the other one were). I took a small bite out of VX’s cocette eggs. I tried it when she was almost done so I was not really sure what I was eating but it was good! The combination of flavours complement each other well. It felt very ocean-y without having a fishy aftertaste. Full portion is definitely recommended.
Would I come back? yes!