The centre for hot new cafes in Melbourne is changing. Whenever you heard about somewhere fresh and exciting it always seemed to be in the inner Northern suburbs, Collingwood and Fitzroy in particular. That’s definitely changing though particularly north of the city up through Thornbury and Preston, but also on the south side of the river too.
One of the hottest south side places has been Two Birds One Stone, located amongst the forest of new apartment buildings near the South Yarra train station and seemingly already visited by three quarters of Melbourne’s foodie community. After swearing off trendy new cafes for a while (after all, there’s much more to Melbourne casual dining than that) we have got back into the brunch groove, and Two Birds One Stone was close to top of the list of places we wanted to try.
If you do want to eat here and hate lining up it is another of those places that you’ll almost certainly need to queue. Despite having a variety of internal and outside tables, booths and a large communal table it didn’t feel like the largest of cafes, certainly not for a place that is so much the flavour of the moment.
In terms of fit out it’s a good example of a typical Melbourne cafe, light colours, lots of natural light, tiles along one wall. It’s all done very well but it does to some extent feel a little ho-hum, like you’ve seen it all before, and sometimes I just wish cafes would take a bit more of a risk to insert a little more personality and individuality into their decor.
Getting there just after 8 on a Sunday morning meant that we had the choice of sitting just about anywhere and we chose the communal table, where we could view the cafe come to life as more and more punters filtered in. The breakfast menu is an interesting mix of options, from your traditional eggs Benedict and smashed avocado, through to baked beans with dukkah spiced labna. A bit unusually both the breakfast and lunch menus are available all day, so it’s really more an all day menu.
Snooze’s choice de jour was the house smoked salmon omelette with beetroot relish, goats cheese and chervil on toast. The omelette was noticeably light and fluffy, the salmon nicely smoked. The balance of ingredients did seem just a fraction out though, as a little less of the beetroot relish and more of the salmon would have gone down a treat.
Despite the early hour I was keen on trying the steak sandwich, with bacon, beetroot chutney, horseradish cream, rocket and cheese. I liked the way my patty was cooked, moist with a touch of pink in middle while slightly charred on the outside (giving it that grill hei flavour). The bacon was nicely crisp and the grainy bread toasted a little more than I prefer, but not so it was overly hard. Just a very nice steak sandwich.
Slightly retro music, friendly staff with efficient service, just a touch more pricey than your average inner city cafe (but then it is in South Yarra), there’s a lot to like about Two Birds One Stone. It will never be my favourite place to eat, as its polished familiarity doesn’t quite match with my preference for the individual and quirky, but it is certainly provides very good food and a pleasant place to eat.
Food – 8.5
Ambiance – 8
Service – 7.5
Price – 7
12 Claremont Street
South Yarra VIC 3141
Tel: (03) 9827 1228