For the past five years, I’ve had a regular housesitting gig over the Australia Day long weekend, where I decamp from my apartment in the city and take up residence in a somewhat larger dwelling in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. It’s my very own version of ‘Escape to the Country’ if you will, where I can get away from the familiar and discover what it is like to live in another part of my city.
So it felt kind of apt to kick-off the long weekend with a leisurely brunch at Town & Country in Balwyn. Sitting in the open front courtyard with the morning light filtering through the canopy overhead, I could have certainly been anywhere else in the world instead of having breakfast alongside a busy metropolitan road.
With a welcome cool breeze on my face, and my coffee order on the way, I got down to the difficult task of deciding what to order for breakfast. The current seasonal menu is heavily geared towards savoury options, but any dish that includes ‘Dr Marty’s crumpets’ usually seals the deal for me.
Albeit a slightly edgier take on Eggs Florentine, two substantial stacks laden with chargrilled asparagus, baby spinach, thick slices of smoked salmon, poached eggs topped with a careful consideration of hollandaise sauce, complimented with a large sprig of fresh and deliciously pungent dill, was a visually spectacular ensemble.
And the taste didn’t disappoint either. The asparagus was a notable addition – it was so soft and tasty from the length of time on the grill that it only took a fork to pull it apart.
However the real hero of the dish would be the thick, doughy crumpets that absorbed all the moisture from the spinach, poached eggs and thick sauce and yet still held their shape and bread-like taste. My faith in Dr Marty’s creations continues to be justified.
The coffee is also full-bodied and delicious. Service is friendly and very attentive although it would be fair to say that the staff are quite busy, so patience is required.
Apart from the cafe, Town & Country also includes a nursery and homewares store, fully stocked with designer soft furnishings and unique decorator items, so make sure you exit through the gift shop. And why not? It’s a public holiday afterall.