Mon – Fri: 7.30am – 3.30am
Sat – Sun: 8am – 3.30am
385 Victoria Street
Coffee: Wide Open Road
“Little is to big, as sugar is to salt. It sounds like one of those awful verbal assessment tests that job applicants (especially graduates) have to endure. Naming a cafe that describes the opposing features of a brunch menu does wrap the mind. Yet, Little Big Sugar Salt is a cafe in Abbotsford that strives to be different in more ways than you may realise.
The Little Big Sugar Salt experience deviates from the typical cafe norm, from its unsuspecting location to the presentation of its menu. Located on the corner of Victoria and Lithgow Street, it’s surprising to see a brunch café as opposed to another pho restaurant. And if it wasn’t for the weekend crowd, I could have easily missed their location – wedged between a migration agent and a hair salon. With a menu designed as a food pyramid and business cards containing brain twisting puzzles; expect to use the creative side of your brain.
The cafe decor is predominantly modern yet homely, as it’s spaced out over three separate rooms. The front room can be a little intense with traffic from the kitchen and patrons ordering coffees. The following two rooms (connected by a hallway) lend itself for small brunch groups and tables for two. Decorated with an assortment of artwork and complemented with calmly-coloured walls, it allows for a relaxing brunch experience.
Coffee is by Wide Open Road; a small batched roaster and café out in Brunswick. The house blend (Bathysphere) in a long black [$3.50] with the Dr. Ron Swanson – pickled onions, braised leek, béchamel + slow-cooked ham hock, gruyere + fried egg [$19] made for a great combination. The coffee was strong and robust with a defining nutty flavour. While initially being very soft (almost watery), the overall taste was quite smooth and pleasant.
Dr. Ron Swanson is deserving of being categorised in the big section. The thick sandwich with perfectly baked melted cheese and succulent ham hock makes for the perfect ‘occasional’ food. The sour flavours of the pickle onions and the tangy mustard were quiet dominant, but necessary to cut through the cheesy taste. The fried egg (whilst not being traditional) made the dish more ‘brunchie’; however I felt it didn’t add anything to the flavour of the overall dish. It was quite substantial and more than satisfying for a weekend brunch – an award winning sandwich with all the trimmings.
Little Big Sugar Salt operates and portrays itself differently from the rest. But it’s these little quirks that make it a stand out as a ‘must revisit again’ cafe. Perhaps next time it will be a sugar adventure. What adventure are you going to take?
“It was the first brunch expedition (review-wise), since my mega trip overseas, and I must admit I was feeling a bit nervous. “Where’s the latest hotspot?” I’d asked Mr LB, “I’m out of touch with the Melbourne food scene.”
And so it starts to feel a bit that way with our fair city’s ever-changing cafe and restaurant scene. In Europe, I craved some of our distinctive brunch options; fritters, smashed avocado, a big brekky all served with a damn good coffee.
The venue for the day was to be Little Big Sugar Salt, the first venture into the cafe scene by Charles Laubscher, Erika Geraerts, Morgan Green and Adam Houston. This little fact is important as you wouldn’t be able to tell based on the professionalism of the service and quality of the food! Our male maitre de/waiter was super friendly, quite personable and the meals coming or of the kitchen looked delicious!
I’d decided to try something different and ordered something I have seen on a couple of menus now… an almond milk latte [$4.30]. It was very unusual! The latte head was almost indistinguishable as almond milk, however underneath the foam layer the coffee remained black and was highly sweetened from the milk. There were flakes of almond milk within the coffee which was a little unappealing to drink, although this was at no fault of the barista. The coffee flavour was almost indistinguishable and was highly sweetened by the almond milk – an ideal cup for those who like two or more sugars in their morning brew.
For mains, I ordered the Crumpets with grilled banana with glazed bacon and fresh riccotta [$13] and I must say it was delicious! The grilled banana was sweet and well-balanced by the bacon which was a salty-sweet combination with its espresso and maple sauce. The ricotta was smooth, creamy and savory, working well with the rest of the dish.
G and I traded dishes halfway through and I must say his dish – That one: blueberry & ginger pancakes, coconut vanilla whip, maple + seasonal fruit [$18] – was super yum!! Filled with what tasted like some sort of semolina / quinoa base, the taste was unusual but delicious; it brought a different dynamic to the base flavour of the pancakes. The maple syrup combination was a classic but delicious addition to the pancakes and berries.
Overall I really enjoyed Little Big Sugar Salt; the service was magnificent and personable, the food was delicious as was the coffee (excluding my almond milk latte). A great venue worth visiting.”
Final thought: “Fabulous pancakes”