After a few weekends chained to the drawing board, The Brooding Architect finally had an entire office-free weekend. To celebrate his new found freedom, we took a leisurely stroll down to the Rathdowne Street in North Carlton in search of a new breakfast haunt. Since my new Melissa sandals were starting to rub (somehow, I don’t think plastic jelly sandals are designed for 5km walks), we just grabbed a table at the first place we liked the look of, North Cafeteria.
North is a trendy little café, smack bang in the middle of the Rathdowne Village shopping strip. North is very popular with the locals, so be prepared to wait for a table, or try and get there a bit earlier to secure a spot. Even though we had dragged ourselves out of bed pretty early (by our standards anyway) and were over there by 9am, the only available seats were the breakfast bench along the front window.
The breakfast menu at North contains all of your usual breakfast staples (eggs, bacon, a muesli of sorts), as well a couple of fairly unique options. The Brooding Architect went for the Champion’s Breakfast – a twist on the childhood favourite of boiled eggs and toast soldiers ($8.50). I could not resist the sound of the Huevos Rancheros (Rancher’s Eggs), served with black beans, tortilla and spicy chorizo ($16).
As usual we started breakfast with a strong flat white ($3.50). The coffees ticked all of my boxes – strong, creamy and no bitter after taste. I always think my weekend coffees taste much better than my weekday coffees though, since I allow myself the luxury of full fat milk on the weekends.
True to its name, the Champion’s Breakfast, came served in the most adorable gold trophy-shaped egg holders. 10/10 for sticking to the theme! To make this dish a bit more grown-up friendly, the toast soldiers are made from Turkish bread and there is a side of spicy tomato relish on the side. The boiled eggs were perfectly cooked – lovely semi-solid whites, with soft, oozing yolks. The only thing that improves the dish is a generous sprinkle of salt on top of the yolks. Simply delicious. The menu does not specify whether the eggs are free-range, however judging from the lovely yellow yolks and taste, I suspect that this is the case.
The Huevos Rancheros certainly looked impressive, however unfortunately failed to live up to its potential. Don’t get me wrong, individual elements of the dish worked well – the fried eggs were perfectly cooked, the tortilla was light and fluffy and the chorizo had a lovely smoky, spicy flavour. However, the Mexican stars of the dish – the black beans – didn’t quite cut it for me. Unfortunately they were lacking in flavour and given the absence of some much needed acidity to cut through the richness of the black beans, I just found the dish a just a little bit too heavy. In my view, all North would need to do to bring this whole dish together, is plonk a more generous serving of the fresh and zesty tomato salsa on top of the beans and serve a wedge of lime on the side (the lemon was just not quite right) and it would be a real winner. For extra points, a bottle of Tabasco sauce on the side wouldn’t go astray for chilli addicts like me.
As I was chomping down on my breakfast, while reading The Age (the gossip-y Good Weekend section, not the real news section), a young hipster wearing ridiculously short denim cut-offs approached me and asked if I was reading The Age. The first thought that sprang to mind that she was one of those dodgy Weekend Paper Lurkers – you know the kind, the sort that can’t be bothered to buy their own paper, but coyly pretend that the paper you paid for exclusive use of is the free for all shared café paper. There I was ready to defend my paper, when she presented me with a $50 breakfast voucher just for being spotted reading The Age.
After The Brooding Architect finished accosting me for always “being so judgmental of people”, I immediately began calculating how much extra cash I had to spend on breakfast treats, because even though the voucher was free and I was already full from the black beans, I felt that I wouldn’t be doing my part if there was any money left over at the end. Kind of warped logic I know! Anyway, two more coffees were quickly ordered, with a couple of ritzy Daylesford & Hepburn Mineral Springs Co. mineral waters (to rehydrate after that extra coffee) for the walk home.