Wednesday, September 12, 2012

De Alleyway Espresso, Melbourne CBD by Big Fil

Sometimes it's not the fancy places you like most. Keep it simple, do it well, and then you'll shine amongst all the overly complicated places that do a mediocre job. I think this is where De Alleyway Espresso gets it right, with its limited range of tasty home cooked treats, good use of limited space and friendly staff.

It's a bit of a journey to find it though, hidden off to the side of Royal Arcade. A couple of big comfy chairs to sit in, tables down the checkerboard floored arcade, I really like what they've done with the place. Because it's so small and the arcade looks like it could be a real wind tunnel on the wrong day you wouldn't expect it to be a very nice place to sit, but other than the lack of legroom for the tables I always like sitting here. It's never going to be the Ritz but it certainly makes the best of what it has.

The best thing about it though, is the home baked goods. I particularly love the look of the tarts lined up on the counter, tempting golden treats in a variety of flavours. Bacon, salmon, mushroom, these are quiche like in taste and texture, and while I haven't tried them all they generally look scrumptious. The only issue I have is the pastry on these often looks a bit overdone. Even when this is the case though the fact they're so large means the interior is still perfect.

What makes these tarts even better though is they also come with a bowl of the day's soup on the side. Warming and hearty on a cool Spring day, it's as good a complementary bowl of soup as you'll find in town.

I also like the foccacias, although they don't have the same home baked feel as the tarts. Generous with the fillings and toasted so the outside is nicely crunchy, it's the sort of thing you could pick up in other places around the city but not at the same price with soup on the side.

Nice place to eat, some of the friendliest staff around (seriously), and much better food than you've got any right to expect at $6.50 for tarts and soup. One of the best options around, not for a special occasion lunch but the sort of everyday place where the change in your pockets will buy you something hot, filling and tasty.

Food - 7
Ambience - 7
Service - 8
Price - 8

Shop 1A 318-322 Little Collins Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel 04 1121 3211

De Alleyway Espresso on Urbanspoon

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