After three days of continual dark grey skies, cold winds and drizzling rain, the thought of heading out outside for breakfast on Saturday morning felt more like agony than an adventure. Bracing myself for another miserable day, I could not believe my eyes as I wound back the bedroom blinds and stared into brilliant sunshine and clear blue skies. What a glorious day! I suddenly felt invigorated again, ready to stretch my legs and looking forward to going somewhere new for breakfast.
I must admit that in the area where I live, I’m relatively familiar with cafés and restaurants along the length and breadth of Chapel Street, but beyond its borders is a territory waiting to be discovered. With the warmth of the sun on my back, I started walking towards Chapel Street and then along Commercial Road, away from the Prahran Markets, past the busy construction site for a new apartment development, leaving the home improvement and interior decorator centres in my wake, and just when I could see Punt Road in my sights, I discovered “Tall Timber”.
The café is positioned on a street corner, with large windows along the front and sides providing lots of natural light into the main dining area. With polished concrete floors, high ceilings, white brick walls, dark grey Vienna café chairs doubling as furniture and wall art, track lighting and natural timber accents, the modern interior accentuated the light and perception of space.
Tall Timber is extremely popular and seems like the place to be. I was concerned for a moment or two when I walked in as to whether I would I get a seat, given that the inside communal table was full and there already seemed to be several groups of people also waiting for tables and seats to become available.
Thankfully there was room outside in the courtyard area which gave me another opportunity to enjoy the sunshine. I was expecting to sit on my own, however coming out through the back of the café is another large communal dining table that is almost the length of the courtyard, with market umbrellas providing shelter and a beautiful herb and vegetable garden creating an exotic and colourful centrepiece.
The menu at Tall Timber differs from others with its emphasis on superfoods such as goji, kale, quinoa throughout its breakfast dishes. My friends like to comment on my strong preference for sweet dishes over savoury, and while I was tempted when I saw House made banana and pistachio bread with espresso mascarpone, my eyes kept reading over the description of the Timber Benedict and within three minutes of being seated, I had ordered.
With such a busy enterprise and tables or covers constantly turning over in short periods of time, the quality and quantity of service given is spot on. I got a little kick of being called “Ma’am” when I sat down and then again when my coffee was delivered. My dish seemed to take a little bit longer than most others at the table and while I didn’t mind, the person who took my order, took the time to let me know what was happening in the kitchen and when I could expect my meal.
My skinny latte was delicious with a sweet creaminess that made it all too easy to disappear in two or three gulps, so another coffee was promptly ordered and delivered whilst I waited patiently for breakfast to be served. As I was surrounded by beautiful young people, mostly wearing lycra and eating delicious super healthy food, I started to wonder what had possessed me to order slow cooked pork for breakfast. The person on my immediate right ordered the Sauteed kale, asparagus, green beans with poached eggs, almonds & goats curd on quinoa loaf and it really looked fabulous and vibrant, probably what I should be eating on a Saturday morning. But after three big sessions of Body Pump during the week (hello Naomi!), my café outings have always been about trying dishes that I don’t eat at home, celebrating the end of another working week, and generally enjoying life, so bring on the carbs!
When my breakfast arrived, it looked sensational and I was extremely pleased with what I had ordered. While the slow cooked pork didn’t melt in your mouth, similarly it wasn’t dry and had small portions of crispy and crunchy meat throughout to give texture and additional flavour. My eggs were expertly poached to my liking with hints of the silky and slightly sweet apple cider hollandaise covering it to add another level of deliciousness to the mix. The wow factor on the plate was actually the finely julienned green apple which gave the dish a fruity, sweet component that naturally complements pork. There was also a small drizzle of runny honey over the eggs and pork to bring all the flavours together. With all the agonising of whether to have sweet or savoury for breakfast, this dish melded these two elements perfectly so that each mouthful was balanced in flavour. It was definitely worth the small wait and a great reward at the end of a morning walk in the sunshine.
In the end the only regret was forgetting to bring my sunglasses!