Despite the name Tyranny of Distance isn’t really that far away. Each time I’ve been here I’ve enjoyed myself, because with its generous serves of some pretty decent food, a nice relaxed vibe and a bit of character it’s the sort of place I am pretty much guaranteed to like. From the 'Lubritorium bar to the gas bottle chic decoration of the main room, it and Yellow Bird have a grungier feel than most Chapel Street cafes, bringing a welcome touch of Fitzroy to Windsor.
The café had been opened up on the warm morning that Snooze and I visited and with the breeze and a bit of moisture from the sprinklers at the nearby bowls club there was almost a beachside vibe happening which I hadn’t noticed before. Well, if closed your eyes and imagined the low hum of Chapel Street traffic was the sound of breaking waves I thought there was. The café was less busy than on previous visits but it contained its usual interesting mix of patrons, more cool than too cool for school.
Menu wise breakfast is a good length, long enough to contain a few interesting options but not so long that the small kitchen is overwhelmed with the potential variety of dishes ordered. Our choices for this day, the chilli scrambled eggs and bacon on flatbread, with avocado and preserved lemon salsa and the tyranny stack, a potato rosti with baby spinach, bacon and avocado topped with two poached eggs.
The best parts of the chilli scrambled eggs were the nice crispy bacon and the flatbread. Too many places get the bacon wrong, either undercooked so the texture is too soft, or overcooked so it’s all crisp and no meat. These strips were just how I like them, mildly crispy to give it some colour and texture, but still lots of juicy meat and not overloaded with fat. While the flatbread was nothing special in its own right, it made an interesting change from the usual toast.
I wasn’t quite so impressed with the chilli scrambled eggs or the avocado. While the eggs were nicely scrambled I didn’t find the egg and chilli combination worked that well for me and that the avocado tasted a little bland. I think I slightly preferred the tyranny stack. While I am not a huge fan of baby spinach and found the potato rosti much less crisp than I’d expected, it came with the same excellent bacon and the eggs were very nicely poached.
Both breakfasts were very generous in size, to the extent that Snooze struggled a bit to finish her share. While most mornings I am keen on a breakfast dessert this time we gave it a miss. I have however tried the freshly baked muffins from here before, and seem to remember that the pear and dark chocolate ones were really good.
A place with a few warts but that’s kind of why I like it. I’d much rather go with the not perfect but interesting than somewhere blemish free but plastic. Service can be a little erratic and seems to depend a bit on the personal enthusiasm of individual staff on the day but when it’s good it’s nicely casual/friendly and even when not I’ve never had any major issues. Overall Tyranny of Distance is just a great kick back and relax place in an area that does haven’t many of those type of cafes.
Food – 7.5
Service - 7
Ambience – 8
Price – 7
147 Union Street
Windsor VIC 3181
Tel: (03) 9525 1005