Mon – Fri: 7.30- 5pm
Sat – Sun: 9.00- 4.00pm
Coffee: Allpress Espresso
“Melbourne winter – for me it has never been that appealing. Sure there is the opportunity to wear ‘that’ new winter coat and woolly jumper which is a positive. However, Melbourne winter isn’t as sexy, as say, New York’s winter with snow glossing the streets and ice skating. Melbournians have the great pleasure of tackling the winter elements with its harsh, blistering cold winds, constant rain and chill factors which makes most people consider whether they should actually get out bed in the morning. With all this arguably negative elements there is something to look forward to in regards to brunch- the exciting and innovative belly warming winter brunch options. One such cafe with winter brunch options is Montague Park Food Store.
Montague Park Food Store is located in the lovely area of South Melbourne with its leaves falling and wind gushing at an incredible speed. It is cleverly located on Montague Street near the tram line and tucked away from the busy Clarendon Street. Seating is outside and inside, however on this occasion and even after gym, we were not keen to brave the Melbourne winter cold front. It had an inviting homely feel about it as we stepped into the cafe. The decor inside is simplistic with subtle and clean decoration of jars, flowers with gourmet and homemade produce which includes their impressive sausages, breads and jams. Once inside we were faced with that winter problem – the cold. We had a chilled reception with little service and the cafe had no heating. We order coffees, hoping that this could lift our spirits.
The coffee bean sourced at Montague Park Food Store is a favourite bean of mine, All Press Espresso. I have given a positive write-up to this coffee blend at Pope Joan and I regularly indulge in their blend at Movida Terraza. It came as a surprise when I ordered my long black at Montague Park Food Store that it didn’t live up to my expectations. My coffee was certainly different as it lacked the silky texture and was replaced with a bitter taste. There was a slight caramel flavour embodied, however it seemed to dissipate. There could be a number of explanations as to why my coffee wasn’t up to scratch including that the one man barrister/ waiter may have rushed my coffee. Another possibility could be a bad batch of All Press Espresso. There has been an increase in demand over the years so I could presume their roasting amount per batch would have had to increase, perhaps reducing quality.
Being situated in an icy cold cafe waiting for our brunch to arrive (which seemed to take an unusually long amount of time to make for a weekday) and my coffee not a sparkling excitement, I wasn’t in the best mood. However once my dish arrived, Braised Home Made Sausages & Beans w/ Two Poached Eggs & Toasted [$15], my winter blues had steamed away like my dish. It was well plated with a decorative and beautiful bowl and it was steaming hot – the perfect dish for a cold winter’s day. The homemade beans and sausages were covered with a thick and delightfully warm tomato sauce. This sauce matched well with the impressive homemade sausages which consisted of pork belly, sage, nutmeg, garlic, cinnamon and fennel. The quality of the sausages were impressive – the herbs a perfect match with an addictive flavour. The beans were prepared well with a slightly crunchy taste that guaranteed to fill any man, woman or beasts hunger. Unfortunately the bread was sliced too thinly and once dipped in the sauce it lost its shape. Also, the serving size was too big which seemed to be a waste.
Homemade cooking is always highly regarded and brings a lot of smile to peoples’ dials. I admire the concept of a cafe which prides itself on home cooking and homemade goods as opposed to slack cafes which buy terrible pre-made packaged food. With that said, there seems to be gap between Montague Park Food Store and a well-run cafe. My meal was lovely but it felt like I was eating at home without a heater. Montague Park Food Store is worth a try for a different experience but you need to keep an open mind.”
“Winter was steadily approaching on an icy Melbourne morning. It was a Friday and after an early morning gym session Mr LB and I decided that breakfast at the Montague Park Food Store was in order. We arrived to find the picturesque little milk-bar-turned-cafe sitting on the corner of Park and Montague Streets in South Melbourne and seated ourselves along the bench-top counters.
The cafe was a lot smaller than we expected it to be and included outdoor seating, which didn’t look particularly appealing as there was no heating both in or outside the cafe. I felt sorry for the barista / waiter, who was rugged up in a wooly jumper. Initial service was extremely slow, which was surprising as there was only a handful of people within the cafe. This could be excused though – it’s hard to both manage coffee orders and take requests from patrons.
Mr LB found a breakfast menu lying outside, and I was quick to pick the Spanish Baked Eggs in Spicy Tomato Sauce with Chorizo [$14], as I was freezing and needed something hearty and warm. I’d also ordered a soy latte, which arrived within 5 minutes of ordering. Perhaps it’s just personal preference, but when I order hot food or drinks, I like it to be hot. Unfortunately, my soy latte was warm and thus, did not meet my expectations.
After 30 minutes (a rather excessive wait for a weekday breakfast) our breakfast came out. It was piping hot and fresh out of the oven. Marvelous! The tomato soup surrounding the poached eggs were salty and delicious. The mixture was thinner than other baked eggs which I have had before at Cumulus Inc. and The Lawson Grove Store. It almost tasted like canned, chopped tomatoes, mixed with some fresh herbs and cooked with 2 eggs.
The first egg I broke into oozed out with yolk, and was quickly collected by my crisp toast. The second egg I had broken open was well cooked inside, with no yolk to be found. I attribute this to assuming that the egg continued to cooked inside the sauce even though it had been removed from the oven.
My breakfast was warm, hearty and extremely satisfying. Montague Park Food Store was charming, but is better suited as a weekend brunch when the worry of bustling off to work is far from people’s mind.”
Final thought: “Home-style cooking to warm you up”