My experience here on Saturday was so good, that I decided I should come back the very next day and see if it really was too good to be true. Such was the daze of happiness that I was in on my first visit, it was virtually impossible for them to live up to my hype.
True, it was impossible for them to reach the heights of the Saturday, but I left here every bit as impressed on the second visit. The entire experience is tailored to my specific set of needs and wants. You begin with the bright white decor, which is surely a wake-up cure on any lazy weekend. The leather bound menus speak to the quality of the offering coming from the kitchen and coffee machine.
Coffee is the best I have had in Prahran to date. That one really does deserve a full stop. True, I did write last week that very same proclamation for another venue, but this is on a new level. This is not “best in Prahran,” but rather right up there with the best in Melbourne. Naturally, I have done no such comprehensive survey. However, I cannot imagine any coffee rising above it in any significant, tangible way.
The food matches that same level of detail and finesse to round out the experience. On the Saturday visit, the choice was easy: Avocado. Not smashed, but a beautiful large dice set atop a delicate corn bread, which was a soft, fluffy, textural delight. On the side was smoked beetroot and goat’s cheese “mousse.” Not much smoky flavour coming from the beets, but still a perfect accompaniment to the rest of the ingredients on the plate. The included poached egg was the clincher. Really does annoy me that these have become an added extra on avocado dishes in cafes, as prices per dish have nudged towards $20 and beyond. At least one included egg improves on that, so well done to Middletown.
The Sunday visit saw me become a little more adventurous, trying the Mackerel dish. Pickled mackerel is paired with baguette croutons, manchego cheese, charred capsicums, jamon and fennel emulsion. There are some challenging flavours here, especially as a breakfast dish. It all just worked together. The mix of hot and cold was perhaps a little out of place on an especially cold Melbourne spring morning, but I was happy with my choice.
On the Sunday I did take a friend, who had the Benedict. As is the way these days with this traditional breakfast dish, Middletown have chosen to upgrade the recipe to include their pork pastrami instead of the more usual ham. The pastrami is basically some thick slices of delicious smoked pork belly which makes me want to order this dish. The blood orange hollandaise topped it off beautifully.
Service was professional and unfussy. Both a reflection of the pedigree of the staff, and the ability of those setting up the cafe and managing its operation. The staff were knowledgeable, and attentive; without being overbearing.
Middletown is a destination cafe and a must visit.