Sunday, September 30, 2012

Collective Espresso, Camberwell by Big Fil

Ok, so what are the two things I particularly remember from a Sunday morning visit to Camberwell.  First of all spending way more money than I’d intended at the Camberwell market.  Yes I got some cool things, such as a book on Japanese graffiti, but it put a hole several meals wide in my wallet.

Secondly, what Snooze described as one of the three best breakfasts she had had in Melbourne.  Thinking about this afterwards it was definitely not in my top two favourites, for which I have two clear cut winners.  However, it was very good and I think Snooze had an arguable case it was amongst the best handful of Melbourne cafe breakfasts Ive eaten.  So which was this paragon of Melbourne cafes that so impressed us?  Collective Espresso, just near Camberwell train station. 

Im glad we got there early though.  Getting there a few minutes after opening the cafe was nearly empty, enabling us to gain a prime seat at the very long communal table and listen to the Beastie Boys while reading the paper.  By the time we left around an hour later the cafe was full, the table was crowded and the background hum loud enough to drown out the music. 

First thing that struck me about the menu was the number of dishes I’d have been interested in trying.  While we ended up choosing the ham hock with grilled baby cos, poached eggs, peas, rosti and pork scratchings, and the sake, orange and miso cured salmon, herb and zucchini pancakes, corn relish and poached eggs, on another day it could well have been the ricotta and blueberry dumplings or something else from the menu.

The grilled baby cos I was a bit indifferent to but the ham hock was pull apart tender and the poached eggs perfect.  When I asked Snooze about the dish, she felt the peas made the dish taste fresh (and she particularly enjoyed the dash of mint that came with the peas), and the rosti was delicate and a nice touch of carbohydrate she likes in breakfast. Overall, Snooze thought her breakfast belonged in her top three because the texture and taste of each of the elements in the dish complimented each other beautifully, and none fought or overpowered each other.

What I liked most about my herb and zucchini pancakes was their lightness in flavour and texture, and the change from the usual sweet pancakes you normally get.  Again perfectly poached eggs and nice fresh salmon, a bit more delicate than your usual smoked variety.  Just a delicious well balanced blend of flavours.

I don’t get out this part of town terribly often as there had never really seemed to be a lot to drag me out here.  Collective Espresso certainly changed my mind in this regard.  Nice place to eat, at least until it started to become over noisy, interesting and very good food, and enough things I was interested in trying to suggest a revisit was in order.

Food – 8.5
Ambience – 8 (pre-horde)
Service – 7.5
Price – 7

3 Cookson Street
Camberwell VIC 3124
Tel: (03) 9882 8995
Collective Espresso on Urbanspoon

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