The Little Man Cafe, Seddon

I really had to eat. Although I was heading off to a cooking class at Spice Bazaar in Seddon for four hours of hands-on cooking and eating at 10am, the five consecutive Body Pump classes I had subjected my body to during the week meant that my appetite when I woke up on Saturday morning was off the Richter scale. Surely a little something to eat beforehand couldn’t hurt? The last time I was in Seddon, I had a wonderful breakfast at Common Galaxia which was in the vicinity of where I needed to be and so I headed in that direction.

Walking along the shopping strip in Victoria Street, I could see Common Galaxia in my line of sight and then as I walked past a large window, I could see a communal table in the front with a small crowd of people seated, enjoying coffee and chatting in what appeared to be a new café. The sign on the timber door said “Closed” and I took ten more steps further before I decided to circle back and see if it was a café that was open for breakfast.

Thankfully the place was indeed open and I was greeted by the counter and allowed to sit wherever I wanted. Located on a street corner, the café was full of light from the front and side windows. The brick walls have been painted white, complemented by pale timber floors and tables, white timber chairs, turquoise blue tiles and matching crockery accents all come together to create an elegantly designed dining space.

The menu is not exhaustive but has offerings of toast, baked eggs, scrambled eggs and the traditional Atlantic/Florentine/Benedict options. Yoghurt panna cotta and vanilla bean rice are wonderful substitutes for porridge or muesli and there is Mocha Brioche French Toast dish on the menu that sounds both exotic and delicious. With a fondness for haloumi, my ravenous appetite gravitated towards the Sweet corn hot cakes with smoked salmon, rocket and haloumi, and also took the option to add poached egg.

The café tends to become busier as the morning wears on, however from the moment I sat down, I was well and truly looked after in the customer service department. The same person who greeted me at the door went to the trouble to locate a newspaper for me, replaced my cutlery as soon as it accidentally flew off the table (I blame the Herald Sun), took the trouble to ask if I would like another coffee and had the nous to ask how I wanted my poached egg cooked. Definitely two thumbs up.

The coffee is excellent and the barista is constantly busy but still manages to weave his magic in the presentation of each cup.

Sweet corn hot cakes with smoked salmon, rocket, haloumi and poached egg - The Little Man Cafe, Seddon
Sweet corn hot cakes with smoked salmon, rocket, haloumi and poached egg – The Little Man Cafe, Seddon

When you read something on a menu, your mind tends to conjure up an image of what that dish may look like. The presentation of my breakfast when it arrived exceeded my expectations. Three pikelet sized hot cakes filled with kernels of sweet corn underneath a handful of rocket, topped with slices of smoked salmon, poached eggs and wafer-thin strips of grilled haloumi cheese. Interspersed among all of those ingredients were thin slices of radish, tomato and the most finely chopped pieces of red onion I had ever seen.
The haloumi was crispy and due to its size it didn’t have its normal soft texture and taste but was delicious nonetheless. All of the textures and tastes worked well together, from the crispy cheese, soft egg, the smoky and salty flavour of the salmon, the bitter taste of fresh rocket leaves combined with the firm and slightly sweet hot cakes, made each mouthful an absolute delight. At that point I was rather glad that my appetite got me out of bed early in search of a hearty breakfast and that I found something special and unique in Seddon.

The Little Man Cafe on Urbanspoon

Platform Espresso, Glen Iris

When I moved into my new temporary residence, a friend of mine at work recommended that I should try Platform Espresso near Glen Iris train station, so I made note of it as a place to visit. That week, the local edition of The Weekly Review showcased Platform Espresso in their Barista column. It seemed logical that I should go and check it out for myself.

When I walked towards the cafe on Saturday morning, I had a brief sense of deja vu and remembered that I had been to a property inspection in exactly the same area, five years previously!

Walking up the hill, I found the cafe and was delighted to find that there were several tables available to be seated at and no queues. The interior of the cafe was slightly stark with plywood floors, table tops, counter and shelving almost resembling an Ikea catalogue, with minimal soft furnishings and clean lines.

Looking at the menu, I laughed to myself when I saw another poached egg dish with dukkah and came to the conclusion that the combination of dukkah and eggs must be the breakfast speciality of suburban Melbourne after ordering it for the past two weeks at Bella Sistas and Red Robyn. Although I was tempted to order more dukkah eggs, I love bagels so I decided to be adventurous and try the salmon bagel with truffle cream cheese and winter salad.

Salmon bagel with truffle cream cheese, capers & winter salad - Platform Espresso, Glen Iris
Salmon bagel with truffle cream cheese, capers & winter salad – Platform Espresso, Glen Iris

I love food served on wooden boards and this dish had a definitive wow factor with its stunning presentation and decoration. The winter salad was particularly intriguing but nothing I had imagined it to be. In my mind’s eye, I was picturing beetroot and roasted root vegetables but pleasantly surprised by the imaginative array of sweet corn kernels, pomegranate seeds, thinly sliced radish, fennel, chervil and iceberg lettuce. The highlight of the dish was the whipped, fluffy and light cream cheese on both the plate and bagel. Although I couldn’t quite detect the truffle in the cream cheese, it was delicious with the cured salmon and sprigs of dill.

Platform Espresso is a hidden gem and I’m glad that I got to experience its quirky decor and fabulous food.