Mon – Fri: 7:30am – 3:30pm
Sat – Sun: 8am – 3:30pm
Coffee: Seven seeds & Proud Mary, Filter, Ice Coffee, Tea
“The Federal election has come and gone yet again. While we currently have a new figure head in power – for better or worse – the quality of my coffee hasn’t changed. As I grow even more grey hairs, I am involuntary sucked into election fever through Facebook, Twitter and even general conversation. Here at Brunch Addict HQ, we are not powerful enough to drive a political agenda (and if brunch isn’t a political issue, why should we?) but we still enjoy a friendly debate of this circus. Our conversation did get loud, but our brunch location maintained its cool - Twenty & Six Espresso.
It’s very hard not to visit Auction Rooms, when brunching in North Melbourne. Even with its impressive stature, there are still other exceptional cafés in the area. Twenty & Six Espresso is one such example. The brick exterior and large shop front windows provide ample natural light. The inside dining area is small but cozy with a soft white back drop and unique decor pieces – including mounted wooden milk crates. The large outside area is calming and quiet, allowing your thoughts to wander
whilst immersing yourself in independent magazines.
The coffee here is by Seven Seeds, with the option of the house or single origin. My single origin long black [$3.80] from Colombia had surprisingly soft tones. Instead of a bold, fruity taste, it was replaced with a subtly zing flavor
that was exceptionally smooth on the back of the palate.
It’s not surprising that the menu at Twenty & Six Espresso is full of inviting, novel dishes. It really shows the effort and commitment the chefs have made to provide an exceptional brunch experience. Carly was with us on this occasion and she was quick with her selection, stealing my choice of the day - Franks’n Beans / Ham hock and smoked chorizo baked beans, blood sausage, slow poached egg & garlic toast [$17.90]. I was still committed to providing a full review,
selecting the sweet option – Aphrodite / Poached quince and lemon curd brioche french toast, goats’ cheese ice cream and pistachios [$15.90] [add Canadian maple $3] [add Istra bacon $4.50].
The waiter made the cheeky comment of serving me the ‘chick dish’, as Miss SL and Carly clearly had ‘manly’ dishes. Not to gender discriminate, I set about consuming this sweet delight. The brioche bread wasn’t drenched with the egg mixture as expected and instead was lightly toasted – acting as the sweet base. The quince were poached well, providing a subtle sweet but fresh taste that married exceptionally well with the lemon curd. The dish tied it all off with the goats cheese ice cream smoothened out the sweetness and the pistachios giving a nutty finish. If you are after a sweet dish, then this is your item of choice.
Twenty & Six Espresso could be classed as hidden gem or an under dog. I would disagree – the set up, coffee and kitchen demonstrate that they can produce an unique brunching experience. Go against the norm and try something novel in North Melbourne.”
“The fact of it is this: if the words ‘brunch’ and ‘North Melbourne’ are uttered (and god forbid you say Errol street), you are most certainly likely to end up at Auction Rooms, who have topped best cafe multiple years in a row. When I Googled the address of Twenty & Six Espresso I was surprised. It was so close to Errol street and I had never heard of it before, especially since it had been open since January this year!
We arrived to a small but packed venue, opting to sit in the scrumptious courtyard out the back. It was a gloriously sunny day and Mr LB, Carly and I were chatting away about the week that had been. We ordered our coffees and I started with a single origin double espresso. What arrived was a beautiful drop, full of bold, rich, fruity flavours.
As the words kept flowing around the table, indecision struck me as I glanced at the menu. Did I want the The Revival / Truffled brioche french toast, braised mushrooms, asparagus, whipped goats’ cheese, herbs, slow poached egg [$18.90] or something different like The Russian / Lemon house cured salmon tartare, free range poached egg, cress, dill creme fraiche, multigrain toast [$17.90] w/ avocado [$21.40]? I decided on the latter. Thinking about my options for drinks, I couldn’t go passed an Iced Coffee served with milk [$4.50] add coconut syrup [add $0.50].
My iced coffee was delicious. The coconut syrup on its own tasted like maple syrup with a hint of coconut. While the syrup added sweetness to the iced coffee, it also added a beautifully gentle flavour of coconut in the background.
When my salmon stack came out I was pretty chuffed. The portion size looked just right for me and the egg was beautifully sculpted. I found the dish very refreshing overall. The creme friache has a lovely, salty profile that was a lovely combination with the salmon stack, which had a lovely mix of dill and capers.
The bread was perfectly toasted and soaked with butter in a way that didn’t result in a soggy companion – it was crisp and tasty, with the multigrain seeds adding an earthy component to the flavour profiles.
Carly had decided on the Franks’n Beans / Ham hock and smoked chorizo baked beans, blood sausage, slow poached egg & garlic toast [$17.90] and it looked delicious! Her egg was perfectly done and the blood sausage looked and tasted like black pudding.
We were suitably full after our brunch meals, but we had spotted some Marshmallow and custard doughnuts [~$5] on our way in and Carly and I couldn’t refuse them.
I had the marshmallow doughnut, and Carly ordered a custard one. I found the marshmallow one quite delicious – the fluffy marshmallow on the top seemed to be store-made and the inside was relatively delicious. Unfortunately, Carly’s custard doughnut tasted a little strange and was rather off putting. Overall the donuts were okay, but not as good Movida Bakery or Tall Timbre.
Overall I really enjoyed Twenty & Six Espresso. I found the food delicious the quirky inclusions on the menu delightful. ”
Final Thought: “A promising alternative to a North Melbourne brunch “