July 25, 2012 4 Comments
Mon – Fri: 7am- 5pm
Sat – Sun: 7am – 4pm
Coffee: 5 Senses, single origin, filter
“A lighting fixture is like the stone that’s thrown at the bird. It needs to be strong, bold and have the edge to strike more than one with a single throw. Not to say that the lighting fixtures are used as wielding weapon, but in many circumstances can be the focal point of a room. Apart from my obvious love for brunch and long blacks, lighting fixtures used by cafes has always been an interest of mine. With such a variety in the market, the selection and way it is used is critical in order to create the desired ambiance. Whilst chandeliers are very stand-offish and fluorescent lights industrial, it’s the unique lighting fixtures that makes a good cafe space fabulous and one step closer to attracting brunch addicts. The new establishment Two Birds One Stone has pulled all stops to bring a majestic cafe with damn cool lighting.
A fresh cafe opened for its first weekend and a calm Sunday afternoon set the scene for a good brunch vibe. Even though Two Birds One Stone is situated in South Yarra, it sure doesn’t feel like we were near the ridiculously busy Toorak Road. Cleverly situated near newly developed urban apartments, it certainly provides a no-rush environment. Inside, the space is impressively large with its high ceilings and its cool clean decor. There is the warm wall lights near the barista station to highlight the carved flower features, somewhat looking tree-root inspired with illuminated tips and the classic low-hanging light globes. Just on ambiance and cafe setting, I would have to say this is the best setup I’ve seen this year. It will instantly capture and attract you inside as you walk by.
Cafes are increasingly becoming simpler with their coffee orders, providing the right blend for either a black or white coffee. As expected I went for the black, ordering a House Blend long black [$4] – a blend of Columbian Primavera, Brazil Bobolink. My coffee also came with sparking water, which I think is the ideal way to drink coffee, as the water helps clear the palate for the next sip. It had very subtle tones with no upfront defining flavour. I did pick up a slight nutty flavour, but what’s really impressive about this coffee was its smoothness. This long black had no bitterness and was simply of a high calibre. The high benchmark set by predecessor Three Bags Full had certainly been achieved at Two Birds One Stone.
It was time to feed the stomach and hard decisions had to be made. It got to the point that neither of us were willing to confirm our orders, so we got some handy advice from one of the friendly waitresses. One of her recommendations was the Eggs Benedict, house smoked ham hock & bearnaise [$16.50]. I don’t tend to go for the classic brunch because they tend to be boring, safe and all you guys know what to expect. However, on this occasion this eggs benedict was really something to rave about. The most impressive element of this dish was the smoked ham off the bone, which in all seriousness was the best ham I have tasted in a long while. It had a lovely smokey taste and had the right amout of cooking oil added to give it the right texture. Even the rustic cutting of the ham allows you to really appreciate this delight. It defined what ham should taste like.
The bearnaise sauce had the right texture and consistency to be enjoyed with the perfectly poached eggs; it didn’t dominate the dish with its creaminess. It had a nice lemon taste to balance the palate. I take recommendations and shout outs very seriously. If I say it’s the best on the certain side of the river, I stand by my word, and this is an eggs benedict that you all should try - I think it’s the best on the south side of the river!
This is a cafe which ticks all of my boxes for what a Melbourne cafe should aim to provide. Getting a seat as soon as we arrived may not happen again on our next visit but we would be quite content queuing. We’ll most certainly will be back for some great coffee and food.”
“Partnerships are a way of life as we know it since we were cavemen/women, hunting in packs and feeding as a group. Partnerships offer enduring friendships, effective business deals and sometimes, even love. Well I’m afraid to say that this blog is not about love – unless you count love for fine coffee and food.
We’d been keenly following the progress of new cafe Two Birds One Stone - the latest venture by power trio Nathan Toleman, Diamond Rozakeas and Ben Clarke (APTE, Liar Liar, Three Bags Full) – and were shocked to hear they’d opened right under our nose!
The first thing I noticed when we walked inside this beautiful cafe was the almost immediate Japanese garden vibe I got from the decor. There was an incredible earthiness to this cafe with moss-plants hanging down from the ceiling in glass baubles and lightly coloured wood framing the private booths that housed those who were group-dining.
Flowers artistically adorned the gigantic communal table, sparking colour and contrast against the black and white feature wall. As I’m sure Mr LB mentioned, one of the most strikingly different elements in this cafe was the x-shaped light features, glowing on their tips and illuminating the cafe.
Everything on the menu at Two Birds One Stone looked incredibly delicious – from the Vanilla porridge with candied cumquats & flaked almonds [$11.50] to the Braised saltbush sandwich with crushed peas, feta, chillie & mint [$16.50]. It’s also important to note how reasonably priced everything on the menu was – there was nothing was over $17.50.
I decided on the Charred corn & zucchini fritter with haloumi, guacamole & house smoked salmon [$16]. As I wandered around the cafe taking happy snaps to share with you all, my greedy eyes immediately landed on the three cookies left by the counter. Could it be?! Was it possible?! Were my favorite cookies from Three Bags Full now in a location so close and accessible to my belly? The chef who made them – fondly dubbed by staff as “the cookie monster” – told me that they were variations of the Three Bags Full editions. They were the White choc and macadamia cookie and Choc, almond, oat + sultana cookie [$4.50 each]. I had one of each kept aside immediately in case they sold out.
When my fritters came out they were simply delicious – crispy on the outside, fresh and full of flavour. They bursts with sweet corn which was a nice combination with the slightly dry batter. The guacamole was unexpected, providing a spicy bed for the fritters, laced with red onions, chili and full, fat capers.
Just when I thought my dish couldn’t get any better I had a taste of Mr LBs Eggs Benedict and I was immediately flawed - the smokiness of the shaved, off-the-bone ham was incredible, matched with a perfectly balanced bearnaise sauce. I was immediately jealous!
Later in the evening we decided to tuck into the cookies that we’d purchased. The Choc, almond, oat + sultana cookie was immediately recognizable a the one commonly sold at Three Bags Full (which has apricots instead of sultanas). To sum it up – pure heaven.
The White choc and macadamia cookie was also lovely but very sweet. It was delicious and crunchy in all the right places.
Overall I found the service at Two Birds One Stone exceptional, the vibe relaxing, the food beyond expectations providing something unique and innovative with every plate. The boys have outdone themselves and we can’t wait to come back and make our way down the menu!”
Final thought: “Best Eggs Benedict South of the river!”