Hmm, I can be a bit of a floozy when it comes to choosing a place to try. A particular dish that sounds interesting, something about the way a place looks, how I happen to feel on the day, any of these things can cause me to spontaneously decide that I just have to visit a place. Sometimes I can be even more shallow, as with the case with Annoying Brother. I think it's just a great name, after all, who hasn't either had or been the annoying brother.
So off twice on an unseasonably cold Melbourne weekend to the opposite end of town I go to try this small and moderately obscure Melbourne cafe. How did I find it? Honestly, overall pretty good but with a couple of things I really liked.
First thing was my hot chocolate. There was just something about its rich taste and texture which made it much more interesting than your usual cafe fare. Not sure why but it tasted almost like a liquor chocolate.
But the best thing about the whole cafe was the pancakes. Homemade pancakes with butterscotch sauce, caramelised banana, roasted coconut and not included on the menu unless I missed it ice cream. The pancakes were light and fluffy and the dish was so wickedly rich and delicious that I'd proclaim it amongst the best pancakes I've had. It's not that commonly used, maple syrup appears to be the more popular way to go, but butterscotch just works unbelievably well on pancakes.
One thing that did strike me was that there weren't that many items on the regular menu which grabbed my attention. There were a few items amongst the specials that looked more interesting but I wanted to try something that would be available week after week. It's more the absent Snooze's sort of thing but I decided to go with the dukkah eggs, served with tomato, capsicum and wilted spinach leaves. As usual, the dukkah gave the dish a wonderful aroma. The eggs were correctly cooked, just, releasing their flood of yellow goodness but even a few seconds less and I'd have described them as underdone. The other items in the dish, to be honest I could take or leave. I don't think it's the best version of this dish I've come across but then it's probably not something I'd have chosen if something else had jumped out at me.
Friendly staff with good service, outstanding pancakes, pretty decent prices, the only thing which gives me pause a little is that when full it just wasn't the greatest of places to eat. I think they have done a decent job with the limited space available, but one of my pet peeves is the feeling you are bumping shoulders with the person next to you when trying to eat. Acceptable in a food court, maybe, but not at a cafe, and that's the way I felt when trying to eat mid-morning at the communal table. Unfortunately I don't think it's something which can be easily corrected.
Food - 8 (more for the pancakes)
Service - 8
Ambience - 6
Price - 7
650 Nicolson Street
Fitzroy North VIC 3068
Tel: (03) 9482 9494