Wednesday, 30 January 2008

The Great Divide

As most Melburnians will know all too well there is a rather stark divide between those who live north and those who live south of the river. The split has become particularly apparent of late with The Writer having returned from overseas and the search for our first place together in progress. He grew up south of the river but having lived most of his adult life on the other side he is now quite firmly attached. Apart from a year of city living since moving from Sydney I have always lived south of the river and having become oddly attached. I know where to go for a heavenly steaming bowl of pho, a dress for a last minute event and the best quality fruit, vegetables and seafood at bargain prices. Then there’s the other issue, the big issue, lazy weekend breakfasts.

The Writer and I are both quite fond of Saturday mornings with the paper spread out over a café table accompanied by coffee and perfectly poached eggs. In the inner-northern suburbs we have an attachment to Ray, it having featured heavily in our early dating days. With sweet temptations like the toasted pide with labna and rosejam it’s no wonder we’ve kept coming back. The Writer is partial to the savoury varieties of pide, in particular the pesto, tomato, mozzarella and prosciutto. I’m drawn to the beautifully balanced sweet and salty combination of roasted caramelised pumpkin and baby spinach with feta and olive tapenade.

On the south side of the river we find ourselves making regular visits to Amici Bakery Café. Although it’s the reasonably priced and perfectly executed café breakfast options that bring us back, you can’t help but melt when you get your first sight of the bakery counter windows filled with rhubarb tartlets, berry charlottes and quivering vanilla slices. I would have photographed the assortment of patisserie delights but that would have involved elbowing out at least a dozen people queuing for a loaf of sourdough and perhaps a strawberry tart for good measure. Instead I have for you my first venture into the sweet breakfast items at this venue; cinnamon french toast topped with caramelised bananas and maple syrup. Any one of those components would be enough to make me a little weak at the knees but together they make the perfect weekend indulgence. The thick slices of casinlinga soak up the syrup beautifully.

The Writer opts for the Amici Big Breakfast, a towering plate of poached eggs, pesto potatoes, bacon, chipolatas, mushrooms, tomatoes and relish. It’s the little things that Amici does so well. The addition of pesto to the cottage potatoes is simple but makes them delightfully moreish. The eggs are perfectly poached and the chipolatas beautifully spiced. This is not your standard fry-up but like the ideal fry-up it’s the sort of comforting breakfast fare that is always completely satisfying. The portions are incredibly generous and The Writer is defeated. Luckily I don’t hesitate to venture with my fork across the table.

The Amici has a strong local following but is worth trekking across town for and at just over $10 for breakfast and coffee, its prices are comparable to its northern counterparts. With a great use of space you almost never need to wait for a table although that doesn’t mean that some locals aren’t queuing at the door to get in and who could blame him?

Amici Bakery Cafe
242 Chapel St, Prahran
Tel 03 9529 7770
Sun-Thurs 7am-7pm
Fri-Sat 7am-midnight

332 Victoria St
Brunswick 3056 VIC
Phone: (03) 9380 8593
Mon-Fri 7.30am-5pm
Sat-Sun 8am-5pm


Wendy said...

Hee hee, that dog made me smile! :)
I'm with the artist on the savoury breakfasts, I have to say. Sounds like Melbourne is the foodie place to be.
Didn't realise you were back in Oz. Hope you're enjoying being home!

Annemarie said...

The north/south divide - I thought that was only a London thing! You do make the cafe meals look wonderful and tempt me to hop on the plane just for that sandwich...

Cindy said...

Yes, the north and south sides have their own charms! As well as Ray, we've encountered many more lovely breakfast spots in the Brunswick area, lining Lygon St as well as Sydney Rd. Fitzroy has its fair share too, of course.

Then south of the river there's Las Chicas and the Galleon... wherever you end up, you'll be sure to eat well! Best of luck in the search for a shared abode.

Cynthia said...

You have made me so hungry. Next week, I am going to indulge and make the cinnamon french toast and caramelized bananas... and the writer's breakfast, what can I say, I am a sucker for savoury breakfasts.

Lucy said...

South of the river girl myself.

Never been to Amici though. Will right that very soon.

Love the dog, by the way!

Naomi Devlin said...

Oh my god, that breakfast looks amazing! Love the RAY logo too and how cute to have a little feather swirl on your coffee? Don't get much of that sort of thing here in the country.....

winedeb said...

I would have to live smack dab in the middle of where those cafe's are located. The coffee in the first photo is too cool! And the food, questions! That sandwich looks awesome! Good luck on your search for a new home!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Yay! That is good news! Good luck with the home search.

Johanna GGG said...

I couldn't agree more with you on the great divide - it is always hard for me to cross the river - strange because I was born in the south but as an adult have always lived in the north and spent too much time there without a car so going south was too much trouble! But thanks for the inspiration - need to have some more interesting brunches out soon.

Serenity Later said...

Ooh I so love the lazy weekend brekkie Truffle. I too vote for the savoury brekkie, sans eggs of course :P

Strangely enough though, and i don't know if this is just me but i've always found a sweet breakfast to be more filling than a savoury one. Not sure why that is...still love my savoury stuff though :)

Good luck with the search for a new place, have you decided which side of the yarra?

Naomi Devlin said...

Truffle, I just nominated you for a meme. Hope you feel like doing one.....

The details are here on my blog:

Looking forward hopefully to knowing seven random things about you sometime soon.

Naomi x x x

Unknown said...

Is that a coffee in the first pic??
It looks so lovely:)

Kelly-Jane said...

Good luck with your home searching, wherever you go, good food is abound =) The Writer's breakfast just looks awesome!

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Deborah Dowd said...

I kind of felt like that dog after looking at your pictures. I'm tucking my tongue back in now!

Anonymous said...

Where have you gone Truffle? Your readers are missing you!

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Bean Sprout's Cafe said...

Wow...I used to stay in Mel last year for 7 months..and really love all cafes there..

Ray looks so good. I gonna go to Mel again this July..gonna try this ^ ^

Vida said...

Hey Truffle, hoping all is well!! Vida x

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed to read your post And see your nice photo.

Anonymous said...

Great pictures and food! I always enjoy reading things from you Aussie's -- my favorite country (well, next to my own, of course!) ;)

Anonymous said...

I like to good photo and good foods. Strangely enough though, and i don't know if this is just me but i've always found a sweet breakfast to be more filling than a savoury one.

Anonymous said...

All the pictures are so lovely. Thanks for your post.

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IronEaters said...

the breakkies look good,esp. the french toast with caramalised bananas. and the big breakky is huge. I like to giv tt a try =)

Ross Hill said...

Hey guys, you might be interested in meeting restauranteur Paul Mathis at The Hive next week -

Anonymous said...

North for Breakfast. City for Lunch. And South for Dinner.