161/163 Nicholson St,
Tues – Fri: 7:30am – 4pm
Sat – Sun: 8:30am – 4pm
Coffee: Atomic Coffee
“Instagram and brunch is a powerful union. The old saying that ‘a picture tells a thousand words’ has never resonated truer in the smartphone era. Everybody is a curator, marketer, trend setter and an active communicator when armed with a smartphone. PR agencies even specialise in crafting an ‘Instagram’ conversation for brands and events for followers to like, share and be informed. Instagram is a key tool in the hospitality industry, enabling owners of any size to craft their own dialogue. For brunch-lovers, finding the latest and trend-setting brunch dishes is just a flick up and down our own feed.
Miss SL is no exception. Her fond excitement for brunch means plenty of brunch pictures get shared around. One such find was Eden’s Backyard located on Nicholson Street, Carlton. With a surprising location choice, this cafe is located on a very busy road that isn’t necessarily synonymous with brunch. For Eden’s Backyard to work it needed to offer something unique to get the people’s attention. The décor is just one example. Offering a beacon of hope for the travelling coffee and brunch lover.
What I loved about the décor is the terrific blend of old and new. The strong brick work located inside and outside is left untouched and distressed, while beautiful wood stained floor to wall and welcoming windows bring natural light inside. During the warmer months the windows will open to allow the decorative garden of vines, AstroTurf and plant arrangements to provide a true garden vibe. The space is generous for large and small groups and a seat was easily obtained without any wait time.
Miss SL had predetermine her brunch meal via Instagram, while I took the old fashion approach and consulted the menu. The menu aspired to offer great brunches with each dish having a number of elements and unique touches to give an unique edge in the ‘Fitzroy/Collingwood’ food scene. While I ordered a long black [$3.50], I was getting excited to try the creative and ‘rule-breaking’ Brekkie Chicken Lasagna – Chicken Ragu, light béchamel sauce, sautéed spinach, ricotta, mozzarella, fried egg [$18]. JoJo was with us on this occasion and went for a safer option – Shakshuka – onion, red pepper, crushed tomato sauce, chorizo, eggs, toast [$16.50].
Coffee is by Atomic Coffee, and I’ll must admit I haven’t had previous experience with this blend. It was a little watery from my point of view, but the subtle crisp flavours could be identified on the black of the palate. The Brekkie Chicken Lasagna was a fantastic twist to the traditional beef lasagna. The light béchamel sauce was a nice touch with the chicken ragu allowing to be lighter meal than its beef counterpart. The more ‘bruncher’ elements of this dish – including the sautéed spinach and topped with a fried egg – was a nice touch, but I felt the egg may have just over stepped the mark. It was not traditional but yet made for perfect comfort food.
JoJo had enjoyed her Shakshuka with a strong and fresh tomato sauce tying in well with the other ingredients. While she was a little surprise with the chorizo plated round the casted iron pot, it was later forgotten as the meaty textures worked well with the existing flavours.
I wouldn’t have expected a café like Eden’s Backyard to be located on Nicholson Road, but I’m glad I went. The space looks great and the menu – as it currently stands – has the passion to provide something different. While coffee was on the weaker side, the food and its presentation was to a good standard. So take a visit to Eden’s Backyard this weekend to be presently surprised.”
“Now I could start off this blog with an Adam and Eve reference but I suspect that’s been done to death. But since the Old Testament the concept of an apple being the symbol of forbidden fruit has lived on through the generations, whether you’re religious or not. After all, if it’s immortalised in Disney through one of their infamous Disney Princesses – think Snow White and The Seven Dwarves – then how can that not be the case? It’s no wonder then, when we arrived at Eden’s Backyard in Carlton then, that the bitten apple was the symbol of their restaurant, enticing passers by inside.
Eden’s Backyard has some shabby chic outside seating options and a large range of seating inside. There is AstroTurf in the front lower deck, which is under cover and small dog friendly. The vibes of the place is largely restaurant/bar with some very casual breakfast dining options.
I started my morning off with a double espresso [$3.70] and for mains, opted for the Pancake stack, mixed berry compote, honey mascarpone, green tea ice a cream, Maple syrup, Oreo and peanut crumbs [$15].
The pancake stack was very impressive when it came out – the tempered maple syrup made for very grand presentation on the plate with the green tea adding beautiful colour. The pancake stack itself was nice; not too sugary, not too dense, but a little plain. It definitely came to life more when mixed with the honey mascarpone and in melted green tea ice cream. The oreo peanut crumbs were surprisingly very present in the dish really lifting it to new levels. The berry compote was also very nice in that wasn’t too sweet or runny.
To be honest I wasn’t very sure about this place when we first set down, as it gave off a very ‘casual restaurant’ feel. Had I made a mistake? Had I been misled by Instagram? The answer is no. Eden’s Backyard serves up a beautiful dish that is hearty and well priced. it’s also worth noting that this cafe is closely located to Melbourne Museum, making it a great place to visit before going and seeing some exhibitions up the road. Overall, this was an unexpectedly great find, dishing up some real temptations that put Disney to shame.”
Final thought: “Temptingly good pancakes; let the ice cream melt”