There are times I love being the 'friend who is so obsessed with food' because I am left with the decision making when it comes to where we go. Give me enough notice and I will scour and whittle down my list until I am wholly satisfied with my choice. I'm not really into the whole AFL thing that everyone seem to get so amped up about, so I had no idea that it was Grand Final day when we decided to go to brunch - even better as the roads were free of congestion when we headed to North Melbourne. We arrived at Twenty & Six Espresso at around 1:30 pm and had a few minutes wait while our area was being cleaned up. It is quite small here seating only 20 people inside (by my count) but the personality is big and visible in every feature in this cafe. The clean white walls are riddled with adorable painted drawings and many quirky touches - crates hanging on the wall, pendant lighting and paper-like cups for our water.
We put through our coffee orders while we perused the menu. We noticed that the food items were asian-influenced which was interesting for a brunch cafe.
After we ordered our food, our coffees arrived. Ms SJ liked her latte, especially now that she can actually drink coffee without having major heart palpitations. Ms L drank her long macchiato wordlessly which I take as a good sign.
My coffee was strong, robust with no bitter taste. I can only have coffees on Fridays and Saturdays as I stay up late anyway otherwise on weekdays, I lay awake in bed in a tossing-and-turning nightmare. So yeah, I really appreciate coffees on those days I'm able to have one.
As we entered the cafe, Ms L took note of the wonderful looking Geisha dish and decided to go with that. The tuna was briefly seared and crumbed with black and white sesame seeds. It was incredibly delicious with a sweet soy & 5 spice sauce, while the beans were sweet and had a nice bite. The wasabi potato mash went well and was a good carb element although towards the end, the wasabi flavour increasingly became overbearing.
Ms SJ and I went for The Hunter dish, to which I added a poached egg, Ms SJ declined as she can't eat any eggs with runny yolk. We not-so-politely informed her that she was missing out on one of the greatest things on earth. The Hunter was scrumptious with the portebello mushrooms and salty chorizo tossed in a balsamic and port crème fraiche dressing while the toasted sourdough had lashings of the earthy truffle oil. The poached egg had golden runny yolk although two poached eggs probably would have made for a better ratio.
Twenty & Six Espresso were closing at 3pm that day so the cafe was quite empty as when we were leaving which made for a good photo opportunity.
I immensely enjoyed my visit to Twenty & Six Espresso and I'm very glad to have finally tried it. Since the cafe has limited seating, I would advise people to come earlier on the weekends or be prepared to wait - but I'm pretty sure the people of Melbourne are used to waiting for tables at restaurants these days.
Will I return? Yes I loved my experience here and the boutique-y feel of the cafe.
Twenty & Six Espresso
594 Queensberry Street
North Melbourne VIC 3051
(03) 9329 0298
We then hopped to Auction Rooms just around the corner. I have previously been here in 2008 (pre-blog) and thought it was fantastic. However since then it has been increasingly popular and I have heard of long queues for a table on the weekend hence no visit since then. We were still full from our brunch at Twenty & Six Espresso but decided to have a drink before we headed home. The coffees at Auction Rooms were damn fine, Ms L's soy chai latte smelt heavenly and she equally enjoyed it. Hopefully I can visit Auction Rooms again soon for a proper meal, especially after listening to Ms L read out the excruciatingly enticing menu items.
Will I return? Yes, I plan to return for the food and coffee.
107 Errol Street
North Melbourne VIC 3051
(03) 9326 7749