Sun – Sat: 8am – 4pm
Coffee: coffeehead, ristretto latte
“I love a bit of word association. I say Brunswick and you say hipster. I say St Kilda and you say beach. I say Camberwell and you say Camberwell Markets. It’s impressive that even with a high density population, each suburb is independent and has a strong affiliation with something. Camberwell is no different with its leafy characteristics and the occasional spotting of Geoffrey Rush, its vibrant Bourke Road shopping strip and the relentless lobbying against eye soar planning proposals (they successfully stopped the re-development of Camberwell station). You’d be hard stretched to find a good brew in the general vicinity, but thanks to the strong demand of Melbourians Camberwell and it’s neighbours has seen a couple of new cafe additions that have big dreams and standards – enter Goldilocks in the oh-so-close Hawthorn East.
Once you have walk down the alley of apparent nothingness and you stumble upon bright yellow windowsills with a small sign labelled ‘cafe’, I can confirm you have reached your destination. It’s the grown-up version of hide and seek where you’re rewarded with a large, inviting room that offers plenty of space to cater varying group sizes.
With all this hide and seek business, hunting for a long black [$3.80] seemed all too easy as I ordered my Coffeehead house blend. Now I really wanted to enjoy this coffee – it would seem that the Melbourne coffee roaster options have been dominated by a small group of elitists. After drinking from these reputable brands for some time, hot competition is always good. Unfortunately, my coffee came out in a rather large cup and the flavor that I craved was compromised. With that in mind the coffee was mostly enjoyable with a clean and had a fruity taste. If you enjoy a large coffee then you’re not going to have an issue, but I love my long black as a shot of coffee with a shot of hot water to get the most out of the flavours.
I didn’t want to be too fancy with my brunch selection and decided on going with a brunching staple, Baked eggs in spicy paprika capsicum sauce w chorizo sausage & goats cheese [$16.90]. The dish was a decent portion size with plenty of sauce and yummy pieces of chorizo, well-balanced goats cheese and perfectly poached eggs that will fill any big mans appetite. My only personal criticism would be that the capsicum was difficult to identify as it lacked that rich taste and the spicy paprika taste didn’t carry through the sauce. Missing these two flavours didn’t deliver according to my expectations but there were other elements within the dish which left me satisfied.
Next time I think I’ll go for the more creative option of the Breakfast Board – cup of granola, yoghurt & stewed fruit, soft boiled egg with prosciutto wrapped asparagus served w fruity toast, ricotta & honey [$16.90]. I had caught a glimpse of this dish on a neighboring table and had immediate food envy. It seemed to bring all the flavours of brunch together – and you can’t go wrong with that.
Goldilocks is a nice all round cafe that fits well within Hawthorn East, providing good competition with the less average cafes going around. There is certainly room for improvement but the ground work is well set with some delicious pastries to make more of a tempting argument to give Goldilocks a go.
*No bears were starved in the process of making this blog.”
“There’s an obvious story to tell here, about a certain little girl with curly blonde hair with a penchant for breaking into people’s (or animals) houses. Instead, I’m going to discuss with you the concept of challenges, or the perception of their existence. Perhaps they’re overachievers or simply the hard and dedicated worker but people like Salvatore Malatesta and, in this case, Paul Mathis make the food industry look easy to conquer. These men have applied excellence in what they do – sometimes falling a little short – but mostly succeeding. Building precious networks along the way, these gentlemen have a string of cafes and restaurants against their name.
Paul Mathis is a name everyone should have heard of by now. He was the founder of many greats (and a couple not so great) food ventures such as Blue Train, Transport, Taxi and Transit, Chocolate Buddha (a personal favourite), the infamous Soulmama with and more recently Henry and the Fox and Firechief. With this list of cafes in mind, Mr LB and I set off to Goldilocks to catch up with Miss M.
Challenges was the name of the game, as finding a park in the vicinity of the venue was not an easy task. Once finding a sneaky spot in a side street we entered the venue, which backed Firechief. We entered the venue which welcomed us with a tropical mural along the left hand side wall, disguising the unisex bathroom. Goldilocks seemed to have a ten pin bowling theme, with its wood furnishings and aptly themed giant coat hooks. The barista station was very casual looking and the overall decor left me a little confused.
Miss M was sitting at a table in the middle of the cafe and we quickly joined her and ordered our coffees. I was dying for a fresh, healthy brunch and immediately set my sites on an old favourite of mine – Lemon avocado & feta mash on sliced tomato & sourdough toast w basil oil [$12.90] add bacon [$4.50] add mushrooms [$3.50]. Miss M decided to go for the Lamb and mushroom pot pie w French fries & salad [$18.90].
As we sat and waited for our food to be served, I couldn’t help but notice how spacious the layout was – there were plenty of seats available without being crowded. The table next to me had large field mushrooms served with their dish and I was looking forward to the same being incorporated into my dish.
When my meal came out I had mixed emotions. The meal itself was everything I was after – it was fresh, vibrant, and healthy looking. The down side was that my mushrooms were button mushrooms, not the large field mushrooms I was anticipating, and my bacon was unevenly cooked. While my extras were a little underwhelming, my main dish was exactly what I needed to get the day underway. The goat’s cheese was creamy and smooth and the tomato gave a smack of freshness to the palate. The avocado was lovely and fresh, making the dish whole.
Miss M seemed to be enjoying her meal but didn’t really make any pointed comments about stand out elements of the dish.
We’d decided on a cheeky brunch-dessert, opting for the Rhubarb and ginger tart [$4.90]. It looked a little unappealing and perhaps could have used some garnish, (a drizzle of cream, perhaps?) but what it lacked in looks it made up for in flavour. It was a nice way to end our brunch, and what I really liked about this dish was that when we broke bits of it off, we could tell that the rhubarb on top was fresh.
Overall, Goldilocks provided a nice brunch. Whilst I couldn’t liken it to experiences at Taxi, Transit, Soulmama or Chocolate Buddha, this cafe met the challenges as set out by the brief: good food, good service and caters to a wide variety of people. The selection of drewl-worthy cakes makes Goldilocks a lovely place to stop by for an afternoon pit-stop.”
Final thought: “Setting the brunch standard for Hawthorn East”