STREAT, Flemington

Last year I met some lovely new friends at an Exotic Persian and Middle Eastern cooking class at Spice Bazaar in Seddon (, whom I enjoyed cooking with and getting to know while eating our shared achievements. Since then I have been extremely fortunate to have Oz and Mez supporting my culinary adventures and their enthusiastic and positive comments about my blog.

When Oz suggested that I should be considering STREAT in Flemington for a catch-up and new breakfast destination, it was just a matter of when. After negotiating restricted public transport and new train routes on a national holiday, I arrived slightly late and harried but it was great to see my friends again and relax in STREAT’s warmth and ambience.

After a couple of weeks of selecting savoury dishes, I was in desperate need of something sweet although I did think very long and hard about the Beirut brekky with twice-cooked crispy sumac eggs, fatoush salad, labne and za’atar. After some deliberation, the description of the French toast with fresh peaches, bourbon salted caramel, cinnamon crème fraiche and pecan brittle was too powerful to resist.

French toast with fresh peaches, bourbon salted caramel, cinnamon creme fraiche and pecan brittle - STREAT, Flemington
French toast with fresh peaches, bourbon salted caramel, cinnamon creme fraiche and pecan brittle – STREAT, Flemington

Where do I start? I tackled the fresh White peaches first which were fresh and crunchy; its best to get the healthy stuff over and done with! The French toast was delicious with almost a bread-and-butter pudding type consistency that pulled apart easily. The cinnamon creme fraiche was light and fluffy with the spices permeating occasionally. Whilst I couldn’t detect any bourbon (which might be due to my finely honed Shiraz taste buds), the salted caramel was thick, sweet and delicious. And lucky last, the pièce de résistance was the pecan brittle. In my mind’s eye, I was worried that trying to shatter the praline with my knife and fork was going to send shards flying across the cafe, Pretty Woman style, but I managed to contain everything to my own plate. The soft pecan nuts and the hardened sugar was a lovely combination and perfect for mopping up left-over fraiche and caramel sauce.

Every dish that I saw being served at STREAT looked spectacular and stylishly presented. The hash brown on Oz’s “The Hunter” breakfast (poached eggs,           bacon, mushrooms, carluccio sausage, hash brown and tomato relish on sourdough) looked stunning and I secretly wished that I could make something like that.

STREAT is a social enterprise that seeks to provide homeless youth with a supported pathway to long-term careers in the hospitality industry. They run street cafes in Melbourne where youth get their hospitality training.

I’m looking forward to the next culinary adventure with Oz and Mez with a Barefoot Bowls night and BBQ co-hosted by the Flemington-Kensington Bowls Club & STREAT Cafe on February 21. Check out respective websites for more details.

Pepper, Flemington

My priority on Saturday was to attend the Royal Melbourne Wine Show at the Melbourne Showgrounds, which meant that I needed a BIG breakfast to help me “taste” over 3,000 wine entries!

I’m not geographically familiar with the West side of Melbourne, so I relied on Google maps to help me locate the nearest train station to the showgrounds. Leaving Newmarket station and heading under the underpass, I saw a cafe in a beautiful old building with an old sign above the door, advertising the “Girdwood Hygienic Library” and full of people and so I knew I had found my breakfast spot.

Zucchini fritters with feta, bacon, roast tomato, rocket, aioli, poached egg and mango chutney
Zucchini fritters with feta, bacon, roast tomato, rocket, aioli, poached egg and mango chutney – Pepper, Flemington

When I walked inside it was quite busy and I couldn’t see a spare table and then I saw that there was additional seating towards the back of the building but still very busy. I was about to leave when someone behind the counter quickly called out to me and found me a table towards the back. There was French toast on the menu but the description didn’t appeal and after several re-reads I landed on the zucchini fritters with the works – poached egg, roast tomato, bacon, rocket, aioli and … mango chutney!

I think I chose wisely from the menu and I did enjoy all of the different components of the dish. However as the zucchini fritters were gluten free, there didn’t seem to be a binding agent which meant that they fell off the fork and needed to be strategically manoevered towards my mouth without ruining my clothes. At one point I thought that there was too much rocket but with the aioli and the mango chutney merging together, it was sufficient to soak up the deliciously sweet sauce.

It tasted great but I couldn’t help think I needed a slice of toast as well but that just might be me thinking I needed to load up on carbs to survive the impending wine tasting extravaganza that I was heading off to. The service was great and I even received very helpful directions to the Showgrounds and so Pepper was a great start to a wonderful day.