Sonido!

Sonido! specialises in Colombian cuisine, something that I don’t have too much experience nor knowledge with. The small cafe is vibrant and colourful, offering a glimpse into the tenacious Latino culture.

Iced Coffee

Starting off with an iced coffee, the tall glass of drink was quite acidic but easy to drink nonetheless.

Chorizo Arepa – $14.00

Arepas is sort of like bread made from corn colour, meaning that it’s gluten free for the celiacs out there. The arepa was soft and a little chewy, being the perfect vehicle for the chargrilled chorizo. Speaking of which, the long slice of chorizo was juicy and flavoursome, probably one of the best that I’ve had. Paired with the cool salsa and guacamole on the side, this was a simply but satisfying plate.

I was too full by this point to try out the Portuguese tart, which I’ve heard great things about. Guess that just means I’ll have to return with a bigger appetite.

How to get here:
Sonido! is located on Gertrude Street, ten minutes walk from Parliament station.

Sonido! Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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The Jolimont

I hate hiking. There I said it. So in order to turn this upsetting event into a somewhat joyous one, and to ensure that we have enough energy for the actual hike, we made a detour and stopped at The Jolimont for brunch before heading off to Wilsons Prom.

French Maple – $17.00

Balance is the key to life, hence why the French Maple was a no-brainer to order on this particular occasion. The French toast was quite dense, but made for an interesting base for the essential toppings of eggs benedict. The runny egg yolks actually helped to counteract the richness of the hollandaise, which was made with more butter than usual. This is definitely not for those who are not willing to clot up their arteries first thing in the morning, as its indulgence cannot be ignored.

Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict – $17.00

The smoked salmon eggs benedict swapped out English muffins for hash browns, which stayed crispy throughout the meal. The generous layers of vibrant smoked salmon made this a more-than-substantial plate. We did think that the obligatory side salad with the sole ingredient of rocket was a bit heavy-handed.

The Jolimont screamed neighbourhood cafe from top to bottom, with regulars being greeted by their first names by the waitstaff, simple and no-fuss menu, and a price-point that’s well below what I’ve become accustomed to with cafes that are located closer to the CBD.

Although the menu may not appear exciting to some, it was a satisfying meal regardless, with each dish done well. I’m happy to add The Jolimont to my list of cafes to return to if I’m in the mood for something local and comforting, with no frills attached.

How to get here:
The Jolimont is located on Jolimont Road, catch bus #765 Mitcham to Box Hill and get off at Longbrae Avenue, and you’ll be at the door of the cafe.

The Jolimont Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Advieh

I know I know, I said I’m over brunches. But when we’re talking about halloumi fries, homemade baklava, dukka toast and Middle Eastern platters, can I really say no that?

So here we are, trying to reconcile a wobbly relationship we’ve been having with brunch at Advieh, a cafe that does both brunch and dinner on certain days of the week, with a menu that promises great things.

The Middle Eastern flair does not stop at the menu at Advieh, the mosaic lanterns hanging from the ceiling, Moroccan-style tiles, and the dark and moody lighting were all reminiscent of a riad.

Iced Chai

It was quite warm on the day and some ice-cold drinks were on order. Although the iced chai was not present on the menu, the waitress was happy to put in an order for us. The spice blend was quite strong, which is actually quite rare to come by in Melbourne, most chais being on the watery side of things.

Iced Coffee – $5.50

My caffeine fix for the day came in the form of iced coffee. The drink was robust and a breeze to drink, keeping me cool in the process.

Mix Grill – $22.50

Advish’s take on the mix grill plate looked light and refreshing, and consisted of three Moroccan meatballs, a piece of grilled chicken shish, hummous and two salads of your choosing. There were three salads to choose from on the day, and after a long deliberation, we settled on the potato salad and the chickpea salad.

Mix Grill – $22.50

The meatballs were my favourite on the plate. The were juicy and flavoursome, benefiting from the ample use of spices. The chicken shish on the other hand, was a little dry, but made all better when had with the hummous. The use of vinaigrette and parsley meant that the potato salad was a touch lighter than your traditional mayo heavy variety. The creamy chickpea salad was another winner, this is the type of salad that I can get behind!

Dukka – $18.50 w/ extra egg – $2.50

The size of the dukka toast was the first thing I noticed, Advieh definitely isn’t shy with their servings. The pairing of pesto and avocado is ingenuous, and one that I’ve actually never tried before, with the earthiness of the pesto contrasting beautifully with the creaminess indulgence of the avocado.

Halloumi Fries (large) – $13.00

The halloumi fries were fried in a light batter, and the yoghurt sauce drizzled on top counterbalanced the saltiness of the squeaky fries. The pops of pomegranate also added some freshness to the plate.

Advieh is something special. With its succinct but versatile menu, friendly and unpretentious service, and reasonably priced and more-than-reasonably portioned food, it left me with a re-found appreciation for brunch. I’m already planning a re-visit to give their dinner menu a try.

How to get here:
Advish is located on Gamon Street, a short six minutes walk from Seddon Station, which is on the Werribee line.

I dined as a guest of Advieh.

Advieh Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Shanklin Cafe

Shanklin Cafe has intrigued me for a while now with its crazy high rating of 4.9 on Zomato. After skipping out on brunching for a while, I decided that it was maybe time to restore my faith in what used to be my favourite meal of the day with a visit to Shanklin.

The interior was right up my alley, being set in a restored Victorian style building, and a front yard that was perfect to bring your furry friend to. The inside was equally as pretty, carrying through the rustic use of exposed bricks, with a feature wall of blue and pink mosaic-esque tiles.

Iced Latte – $4.50

It was quite a warm day, and my dining partner chose to have an iced latte. We were a little confused as to how this was served, with a shot of espresso coupled with a larger glass that seemingly already had some coffee in it. Regardless, it was an icy brew that gave the right amount of caffeine kick.

Flat White – $4.00

My usual order of flat white was equally satisfying, being a dark roast that was easy to sip on.

Portobello Mushroom – $23.00

The portobello mushroom is said to be a must-order at Shanklin Cafe, and my friend was more than willing to try the dish, given her love towards mushrooms to start off with. The plate had a lot going on for it; the vibrant colour of the romesco sauce is what first stood out in the dish, which paired well with the earthiness of the juicy portobello mushrooms. The two poached eggs added sustenance, and the zaatar on both the mushrooms themselves and sprinkled over the top brought a Middle-Eastern touch.

Although not marked as such, I think this was a vegetarian dish, and a substantial one at that.

Pork Benny – $22.00

It’s always hard for me to say no when pork belly appears on the menu, and so it was a no-brainer to order the pork benny. The pieces of roasted pork belly was on the fatty side, which means that if you’re a eater of leaner cuts of meat, this may not be right for you. The hollandaise did prevent the dish from being too heavy though, and I did quite enjoy it.

Did I enjoy my meal at Shanklin? Sure. The food was hearty and classic, with innovative elements tied in. I did think that it was on the pricier side though, with most dishes being above the $20 mark, and if you were to order a drink too, the bill would easy rack up to around $30. That’s the thing with a lot of brunch places I think, not exactly over-priced, but not exactly bang for your buck either.

Maybe I’ve just grown out of the brunch phase, but I can’t really justify that sort of spending like I used to. I mean I’m still going to indulge in it here and there, but it certainly isn’t going to be a weekly thing anymore. Oh well, c’est la vie.

How to get here:
Shanklin is located on Tooronga Road, catch the #75 tram and get off at Tooronga Road/Riversdale Road, and the cafe is three minutes walk away.

Shanklin Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cheerio

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetI don’t visit Richmond as much as I’d like, given the endless dining options in the area. I did manage to sneak in a quick brunch there with a few friends though, and we chose to dine at Cheerio, a little cafe located off the main road.

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Omelette w/ Triple Cream Brie, Basil, Gypsy Ham, and Confit Tomatoes, served with Pumpkin Soy Toast – $17.00

I’ve been really feeling egg-heavy dishes lately, and upon hearing great things about the omelette at Cheerio, it was a no-brainer to order.

The omelette was extremely soft and creamy, and the triple cream brie certainly helped in that respect. It is definitely not a light breakfast, but hey, I knew what I was getting myself into. Having said that though, the confit tomatoes and the asparagus hiding beneath the pillow of omelette did prevent the omelette itself from becoming dangerously heavy, and I was left quite impressed.

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Omelette w/ Triple Cream Brie, Basil, Gypsy Ham, and Confit Tomatoes, served with Pumpkin Soy Toast – $17.00

The pumpkin soy toast itself was no ordinary bread, being from Woodfrog Bakery, one of my recent finds at a Sunday Market, the toast was quite structured, and did not disintegrate even when I piled the omelette on it.

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Avocado, Tomato Medley, Basil, Meredith Goat’s Cheese, Sumac Dressing, Toasted Pepitas, and Tomato Salt on Pumpkin Soy Toast – $16.00 With 2 Poached Eggs – $4.00

The other dish that I got to try was Cheerio’s take on the classic smashed avocado. The chunks of avocado were of exceptionally high quality, none of that under or over-ripe business here. I always love the addition of nuts and seeds to any dish, and the toasted pepitas were no exception.

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Cheerio seems a lot more homely than some other cafes around the area, and we really enjoyed our time here. If you’re looking for a bit of an escape next time you’re on the bustling streets of Richmond, take a detour and pay Cheerio a visit, I’m sure you won’t leave disappointed.

How to get here:
Catch the train and get off at Richmond Station, and Cheerio is a short five minutes walk away.

Cheerio Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mr Hendricks

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It’s no secret that Mr Hendricks is one of my brunch go-tos in the Eastern suburbs. Its space may seem a bit small upon first glance, however, there is a courtyard, and an elevated courtyard on top of that, preventing a wait even on a Saturday morning.

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Cold Drip

Given the scorching weather on the day, I settled for the cold drip. The cold drip at Mr Hendricks was served with sparkling water on the side, which I was quite confused about at the start. However, I quickly realised that the sparkling water was to be poured into the cold drip, making it a rather refreshing drink.

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Croque Madame – $16.00

The Croque Madame is a new addition to the menu, and in true Mr Hendricks fashion, the serving was huge! Sandwich between the two slices of buttery and crunchy bread was a ham hock terrine, elevating the dish from more pedestrian renditions of the sandwich. The bechamel sauce and the gruyere cheese added more creaminess to the dish. Although delicious, this dish was quite decadent, and could have benefited from a small salad or the like to lighten it up a little.

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Rosemary Chips – $7.50

A balanced diet requires some chips on the side, and these are some of my favourite chips in town. The thick cut chips were fried to perfection, golden on the outside and super potato-ey on the inside, and the rosemary salt was earthy and comforting.

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I’m so glad that Mr Hendricks is on my side of town, its more than reasonable price, ever-changing menu and just general good vibes means that I will be returning for years to come.

How to get there:
Mr Hendricks is located on Whitehorse Road, catch tram #109 and get off at Northcote Avenue/Whitehorse Road, the cafe is just a minute walk away.

Mr Hendricks Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Humble Rays

Opening earlier this year, Humble Rays has quickly become a contender for having the longest queue in the Carlton area during brunch hours. Its pastel colour palette, plethora of air-hanging plants, and Asian-inspired menu that frequents Instagram ensured that it had a cult following. Arriving at midday on Wednesday, we still had to wait for 30 minutes, proving its popularity.Processed with VSCO with hb1 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 preset

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Iced Matcha Latte – $6.00

Hearing rave reviews about the Matcha Latte, and given the humid weather on the day, it was a no-brainer to order the iced matcha latte for my drinks. The matcha flavour was indeed a lot more prominent than other matcha lattes I’ve tried in the past, and I had to restrain myself from finishing it too quickly.

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Steak Sanga – $18.50

I strayed away from some of the more popular dishes and ordered the steak sanga, the serving was a lot larger than I expected, and am used to around Melbourne.

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Steak Sanga – $18.50

The goodies that were sandwiched between the roll included the titular flank steak, cheddar cheese, chilli bacon jam, balsamic onion chutney, rocket pesto mayo, and some rocket to trick you into thinking it’s a balanced meal. The only problem that I had with the sandwich was that it was quite difficult to eat, however once I had overcome that, the dish was delicious. The chilli bacon jam and rocket pesto mayo elevated it from a steak sanga that you can get from your local fish and chips, and the quality ingredients together presented a simple but tasty meal.

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Egg Benny – $18.50

The eggs benny is probably the most raved about dish from Humble Rays, and my friend liked it so much that she ordered it both times that she visited the cafe. The pork belly was braised to the point that it fell apart at the touch of the fork, and melted in the mouth. The ginger flavour wasn’t too overpowering in the pork belly, which means that even if you were not a fan of ginger, you’d still enjoy the dish. The korokke was akin to a potato rosti, but a lot of crispier, and the yuzu hollandaise prevented the dish from being too heavy.

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Green Tea Skookie – $12.50

Even though we were pretty full by this point, we still had some room for the green tea skookie. Skookie is essentially a cookie baked in a skillet, topped off with marshmallow, ice cream and cookie crumbs. The soft cookie paired with the gooey marshmallow perfectly, and ice cream is never a bad idea in dessert.Β The idea is ingenious, and we demolished the skookie in minutes.

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Even in the saturated brunch scene, Humble Rays is able to set itself apart with dishes that are both reasonably priced and interesting, whilst not losing touch with the most important factor – tastiness of the food. There’s a reason why it has been able to draw a crowd amongst other cafes around the area, and I can see it continue to thrive amongst the student population nearby.

How to get there:
Humble Rays is located on Bouverie Street, catch any of the trams from the Melbourne Central tram stop on the Swanston Street heading away from Flinders Street Station, and get off at Queensberry Street/Swanston Street, and the cafe is two minutes walk away.

Humble Rays Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato