Mon – Fri: 7:30am – 3:30pm
Sat – Sun: 9am – 4pm
Other drinks: Storm in a Teacup (tea)
“Who is Wilfred Smith? Well whoever he is or was, he represents a positive movement of quality cafes establishing in the outer suburbs of Melbourne. Why attempt to set up a cafe within the CBD, when you can tap into the suburbs? Brunch shouldn’t be limited to city residents. There are plenty of people in the suburbs who want great coffee and brunch options without driving more than 30 minutes. There are hidden gems within these suburbs, and our most recent discovery with some assistance from Chatterbox marketing –Wilfred Smith in Essendon.
Wilfred Smith is located on Albion Street in Essendon, alongside other bespoke stores such as an independent Prince Wine Store and an authentic cheese store – Harper and Blohm. Wilfred Smith is a small operation, where guests are welcomed by plenty of homely decor quirks. The space is designed into little pockets – including a cozy front courtyard – offering a different experience on each visit.
Coffee is by AllPress and the house blend was of a nice consistency. Also on offer was a single origin, and having tasted the Uganda roast it contained a lovely crispy taste with hits of savoury taste.
The brunch on offer was a little different, including offerings such as the Citrus cured salmon with pickled vegetables, poach eggs and sourdough [$17] to a Breakfast salad – frisee lettuce, fried halloumi, crisp prociutto, cherry tomatoes, crunchy toast and a poached egg [$15].
After much consideration, I was recommended the Duck Okonomiyaki – Japanese style vegetable pancake with sticky duck [$17]. The fresh flavours of the Japanese style vegetables in the pancake and side salad was immediate and delightful and reminded me of crispy-style fritter. Complemented with the Japanese mayo, it created a lovely creamy texture to the vegetable. The crispy vegetables combined with tender duck pieces allowed for further depth within the dish. Being a unique dish, it worked perfectly for people wanting something different to the regular brunch options. It was filling, delightful and all round yummy.
To cap off the experience at Wilfred Smith, we ordered an Orange Friand to share. This little brunch dessert was moist and of the right sweetness. The perfect finish to conclude brunch.
There is no laziness with the menu at Wilfred Smith, and there is a constant drive to be an excellent brunch location within the area. Wilfred Smith has all the elements of a great cafe – so what are you waiting for?
“When we were invited to brunch in Moonee Valley in order to help promote the area, we couldn’t say no. I couldn’t help but wonder where exactly I was going as I neared the address of Wilfred Smith, our brunch destination. The streets were quiet and there were no shops in sight. There were no obvious mills of people about, but the scent of fresh coffee was in the air – I knew I must be getting close.
Open only a few months, this café holds its own stead with the locals, who were basking in the delights of a good morning brew. The cosy 30-seater venue looks like a converted house, but was actually once a local butcher, which in turns gives us a hint to the origin of this cafés name. You see, Wilfred Smith is the name of head chef Matthew Smith’s grandfather, who was a butcher. The world comes full circle.
Looking at the menu it was hard to go passed a Ugandan single origin double espresso and the Gingerbread hotcakes – with lemon curd and black pepper meringue and crème fraiche [$14]. My coffee was fairly quick to be served and was a tart yogurt blend that stayed on my taste buds long after each sip. It was heavenly.
It was about a 20 minute wait for my gingerbread hotcakes, but they were worth every second. Think three medium-width hotcakes with just a pinch of ground ginger spices mixed into the batter made for a Christmas-conjuring meal. I loved every second of it.
The lemon curd was powerful, sweet and well-balanced. It was not too tart and not too sweet. The raspberry compote and icing sugar further intensified the overall sweetness of the lemon curd, but the crème fraiche balanced out the flavours and toned it down.
Wilfred Smith offers a relaxing, cosy and friendly and the staff were chatty and polite. There was something very warming about Wilfred Smith and I must admit that the menu had piqued my interest. Wilfred Smith is a small but inviting venue and worth giving a try if you are in the area.”
Final thought: “The gingerbread hotcakes are delicious brunch option”