Wed – Sat: 8:30am – 11pm
Sun: 8:30am – 3pm
*Brunch till 3pm
Coffee: 5 Senses, Single Origin
“On a personal level, brunch has become an integral and significant social gathering. It has gotten to the point that if I stopped brunching, I would erode friendships, or worse, spend significant time at the pub. Brunch is the perfect setting to give meaning to the weekend. It provides the perfect backdrop,
located at unique venues with novel decor. Brunch doesn’t block out the whole day and provides the opportunity to catch up with mates, meet up with a hot date or see the parents – with amazing food and coffee. Miss SL had organised brunch with The Doctor and myself to catch up on the events surrounding our small world, at the newly opened – Two by Two.
The decor of Two by Two initially appears subtle. With the exception of the wooden feature wall, the rest is painted crisp white and contrasted by faint, black, low-hanging lights positioned around the dining area. The kitchen and bar / barista station is tucked to the very back of the venue. Removed away from the main dining area it creates a quieter experience. The feature wall is wonderful, with its clusters of wooden dimples arranged randomly, catching the eye of the everyday diner. It certainly lifted the ambiance and with its glossy finish, makes for an impressive and unique architecture piece.
Brunch should always be casual and so should the service. The best service is where the staff have a level of assertiveness, knowing when to ask for orders and when it’s inappropriate. Arriving at Two by Two we had to seat ourselves, ask for menus, ask to order coffee and then ask to order food. To ask once (maybe twice) is fine – after all we are only human- but when asking for all components of the experience is – in my opinion, a poor effort.
My long black [$3.50] was the house blend
from 5 Senses. It was a solid drink with a slight nutty flavour. The head of my coffee dissipated quickly upon arrival, slightly losing its appeal.
The brunch menu consists of old favourites and intriguing variations to the usual suspects. I was tossing up between the naughty – Big Breakfast, 63 degrees eggs, mushroom, spinach, beetroot relish, thick-cut smoked bacon, toast [$19] and the good – House cured salmon, caper, avocado, ricotta, toast [$17]. Following from a big Friday night session, the latter seemed to be the better choice.
All the elements of the dish were lovely and fresh. The house cured salmon was perfect with the smashed avocado and, as the pictures suggests, the 63 degree egg was prepared perfectly. Apart from not being served with ricotta, it was a good dish. The toast was from Noisette and it elevated the dish from ordinary to great. While it was a little classic and small in portion for my liking, it was a good dish if you’re after something light and refreshing.
With a strong dinner menu, it makes economic and rational sense to branch into brunch, however, there is no room for laziness in the brunch game. To have the same standard as its dinner sitting requires some fine tuning on Two by Two’s behalf. It’s still early days and I look forward to trying them again once they have settled in.”
“Food is an experience at its best – and a necessity at its worst. The best restaurants provide an experience of all the senses – smell, sight, taste buds and sounds.. and that’s just the food. The restaurant itself is expected to have good service, a clean environment, appropriate music and a beautiful drinks list to match. Two by Two is a relatively new fin- dining restaurant to open it’s doors in Northcote – and the best part is they’re open for brunch. Steadily developing a reputation for their excellent dinner service, The Doctor, Mr LB and I decided to try them from a different angle to test their bounds.
It’s one thing for a restaurant to be good at creating a magical dinner, but it’s a completely different challenge to create a special brunch experience. Why? Unlike dinner, breakfast has its own set of criteria – excellent coffee, perfectly poached eggs and carefully selected bread. It would be a relatively simple task if you weren’t in Melbourne, the city of food.
Two by Two is owned by two people who previously worked for one of Melbourne’s premier restaurants – The Supper Club. Jessica Fitzgerald worked as the events and PR manager and Ben Sanders was the Assistant Manager.
With a high-class reputation, I was looking forward to a first-class experience. We arrived at the venue and could immediately spot a few empty tables and seats where we could perch ourselves, however, we decided to wait until seated. We waited and waited and waited. Staff huddled in the back of the venue, through the archway near the counter giggling and laughing idly with a few accidentally making eye contact and then quickly looking away.
It became apparent that we would need to seat ourselves.
We decided (in a huff) to sit on the bench overlooking the street. As we chatted away, waiting for a menu or some water we found our mouths becoming more and more parched. After a fairly concerted effort we managed to get the attention of a friendly waiter to provide us with menus and some coffee.
The menu was not particularly unique in its offering, however, the items sounded fresh and delicious. I found myself immediately attracted to the naughty item on the menu; Pancakes – Cinnamon, honeycomb, vanilla ice cream [$15]. What came out immediately made me wriggle on my seat in excitement – beautiful wholemeal pancakes with fresh honeycomb melting atop the light fluffy bed of dough, dripping with melting vanilla ice cream.
The pancakes were delightfully fluffy and soft, with the air pockets in the dough creating a lovely visual that mirrored the honeycomb scattered across its surface. They had a gorgeous cinnamon flavour running through them which was perfectly matched with the other elements on the dish.
The honeycomb was simply divine. Crunchy on the top and not overly chewy, it was most certainly the star of the dish. The vanilla ice cream had a strong flavour of fresh vanilla bean permeating through it.
While I really enjoyed my dish, Mr LB and The Doctor seemed a little underwhelmed by their choices. It seems that while good efforts have been made by Two by Two to be a competitor in the brunch scene, some increased focus around customer service and perfecting consistent quality between menu items could see them becoming a venue worth raving about.”
Final Thought: “Cinnamon pancakes with fresh honeycomb are ridiculously delicious”