Monday, 25 February 2013

Seven Seeds North Melbourne - Good Coffee

The return of international test match cricket encouraged me to seek out sustenance at an early hour on Sunday. This is quickly turning into a habit although knowing that the cricket will be broadcast later in the day, my desire to have something in my stomach before consuming litres of beer makes me a pragmatist. Wanting to find a cool and interesting venue that serves decent food in the morning hours is a secondary benefit.

My travels took me and one other hungry resident in the area to Seven Seeds in North Melbourne. This is another venue that typifies Melbourne: converted warehouse just outside of the CBD, bicylcle and hipster friendly, damn good coffee and interesting things on the menu.

Like with St Ali in South Melbourne there are no parking restrictions in the area on a Sunday so for once I took the motorcar out. Parking was just as easy as securing a table. We were directed to a communal table however it was shaped as a rectangle and because the seats were spaced just enough apart you didn't feel as if you were unavoidably eavesdropping on others.

The menu is short and sweet. My first long black took a while to come out however my second round of coffee was the single-origin coffee of the day from Guatamala and it came out quickly. The latter cup of beans had the taste of apricot and neither one of them were heated over 50c. Some may be put off by the fact that the coffee is not at 100c and steaming but I found it pleasant, just like I did with the service who were happy to have a chat about the menu and what was on offer.

I opted for the jalapeno french toast which was quite an unusual combination on paper. I expected more of a sugary-syrup to take over and leave an impression but that wasn't the case. It was an interesting merging of flavours however I would have normally wanted something more done than slicing a pepper up and scattering it on the dish. There was nothing wrong with it and it certainly beat other "normal" breakfast options that you get elsewhere.

Although the place was filled with diners, it was not loud partially thanks to the high ceilings. It was easy to have a conversation with the person next to me despite being sat at a communal table and of all of the communal seating that I have experienced as of late, this configuration was the most pleasant. There are bicycle racks just inside the warehouse entrance which I thought was novel and the venue seems to be a mecca for bicycle riders and students given the proximity to the universities.

Even though the food wasn't as robust as what I had at Chez Dre, St Ali or even Three Bags Full, I found the venue more relaxed and accommodating. I will return not only for the convenience, but because I am partial to their coffee.

Seven Seeds, North Melbourne

Seven Seeds
Link to review
106 - 114 Berkeley St  Carlton VIC 3053
(03) 9347 8664
My Rating: 12/20
Service: 3/5
Ambiance: 3/5
Quality: 3/5
Value For Money: 3/5

Twitter: @epicurean3006
e-mail: epicureanofsouthbank (at) gmail (dot) com

At the time of this post, 86% of the reviewers on Urbanspoon also like Seven Seeds.

Seven Seeds on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 24 February 2013

pekopeko South Melbourne - Turning Taiwanese

What a great little find.

pekopeko on Wells Street in South Melbourne is nestled in amongst a never-ending construction zone of residential towers and an industrial area not far from Kings Way which makes it convenient to visit and park if you are arriving by motorcar. It is a Taiwanese-inspired cafe that ticks all of the boxes and does not have the perceived shortcomings that I wrote about yesterday in my diatribe about Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe.

What is not to like? The first thing that comes to mind in the current economic climate is value for money. Here it would be easy to feed a family of four for $60 and experience some variety along with healthy portions on offer. With 52 options available which range from the "Peko Box" where the main dish is served with rice and seasonal sides in a large oriental box, soup bowls, entrees on plates and light meals - along with some daily specials, it is hard not to find something that everyone will enjoy. We opted for the teriyaki fish ($15) plate, crispy honey beef ($13) box and wasabi mayo prawns ($9) which was perhaps the highlight of my meal.

Given that the cafe is off the beaten path, it was not bursting at the seams and it was easy to secure a clean table next to the window and enjoy the air conditioned climate and service. A limited booze menu is available and I enjoyed a 600ml bottle of Taiwan Gold beer ($13) which provided the necessary hydration for the hour and happily accompanied the sweet flavours of the teriyaki sauce that was covering the fish, which was delicate enough to pull apart with chopsticks.

Service was reasonably attentive in this "cheap and cheerful" establishment which saw the entire customer base turnover during the time that we were there. I languished a bit longer as I was enjoying not only the beer but the air conditioning and was impressed to learn that the full menu is available as a takeaway option which is seemingly popular as four large bags of takeaway was picked up during the hour that I spent in the cafe. There is one large table that would easily hold a group of 12 and the individual tables are placed a bit close to one another to maximise space however considering that you will not be dining here all day or night, it will not put you off.

I would happily return to pekopeko either by car or by foot as the food itself is worth it.

pekopeko, South Melbourne

Link to review
190 Wells Street, South Melbourne VIC 3205
(03) 9686 1109
no web site
My Rating: 13.25/20
Service: 3/5
Ambiance: 3/5
Quality: 3.25/5
Value For Money: 4/5

Twitter: @epicurean3006
e-mail: epicureanofsouthbank (at) gmail (dot) com

At the time of this post, 92% of the reviewers on Urbanspoon also like pekopeko.

Peko Peko on Urbanspoon