The first breakfast I had when I moved into the South Yarra area was in a café located in the Yarra Lane precinct, adjacent to the train station called Outpost Café. Let’s just say that after that dining experience, I avoided the place altogether and didn’t look in that general direction when I walked to the train station every morning.
Recently, I noticed that there had been a lot of activity in that area during the morning and weekend periods, with people dining inside the café, and spilling over onto the chairs and tables set up in the laneway. Curiosity got the better of me and I thought that I should go and see for myself what all the fuss was about.
The majority of the space is occupied with the open kitchen, with bench space for dining along the perimeter of the café. The exterior walls are made from floor-to-ceiling glass which makes the relatively small space feel open and filled with natural light. Interspersed throughout the café along the benchtops are a series of recent bestselling cookbooks. I devoured the mouth-watering dishes in Ottolenghi’s “Plenty” whilst simultaneously enjoying my breakfast. Small, glass beakers filled with God-knows-what on the tables, together with colourful caricatures of Albert Einstein and friends displayed along the front counter, pay homage to the great scientist and café’s namesake.
The coffee has a sharp, distinctive flavour that is a little too bitter for my palate but nonetheless beautifully presented in one of the café’s trademark stylish emerald-green coffee cups.
The menu is not extensive but has a combination of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean influences, in conjunction with exotic sounding offerings incorporating organic superfoods such as the Acai Wake Up Bowl and Quinoa Porridge. I have a deep love of haloumi so I was instantly drawn to the Haloumi Bruschetta with seeded sourdough toast, diced haloumi, avocado, radish, tomato medley and a tangy yoghurt dressing.
The first thing that struck me about my breakfast was the amazing array of colours. From the vibrant red and yellow displayed in the cherry tomatoes, to the golden brown grilled haloumi, complete with touches of green in the mashed avocado and hints of purple from the micro herb garnish. It was a feast for the eyes as well as for the stomach.
The haloumi cheese, with a crispy outer layer and soft centre was delicious, even more so when covered with the silky smooth yet spicy yoghurt sauce. The medley of thinly sliced radish, tomatoes and herbs were fresh and tasty and a perfect foil for the spice in the dish. With a little more added spice thrown in for good measure, the mashed avocado was also plentiful and helped to ensure that all the combined textures and flavours worked in harmony with each other. The sourdough bread was also great but with all the moisture from the avocado and dressing, it didn’t resemble toast for too long.
It seems a little strange but poignant that my last breakfast as a resident of South Yarra should be in the exact same location as the first one, but at least I can say with absolute certainty that this breakfast experience was thoroughly enjoyable!