Wednesday, April 8, 2015

District Brewer, Bentleigh by Big Fil

I rarely get excited about Melbourne cafes these days.  In some ways it may just be battle fatigue, Melbourne is known as a foodie town and having been to so many good ones you can become a bit desensitised to the whole thing.  When I saw the menu though for District Brewer I was more excited than I’d been for a long time.  Miso babaganoush, mango pop rock sherbet, Guinness and bacon chutney, grilled pumpkin brioche – I wasn’t sure whether they’d bitten off more than they could chew but I was certainly willing to give them ago, particularly being so close to home.

Given it had been mentioned by The Age I was expecting a line-up of people waiting to get in.  Not so, or at least not yet.  Service was friendly and although some of the tables are a little close together it’s very much the modern Melbourne café in style.

The menu though, that’s where it’s at.  Normally Snooze and I take a minute or two at most to decide what to order but this time we had to ask our server to come back because we were having a hard time choosing.  Eventually we settled on the Baked Truffle Polenta Eggs and the Black Pudding Beignets, along with the super spiced cacao.

 It has to be said Snooze is usually disappointed when she orders baked eggs.  There are a few good ones around town, but too often the flavours are weak and tomato dominated.  This version though is very different, with sautéed spinach, mojo verde (which I had to look up, a Spanish style paste with garlic, coriander, cumin, olive oil and vinegar) and Pecorino Cheese.  The flavour was atypical but very much to Snooze’s taste, quite herby to mine and nice, although I did think that the other ingredients (especially the Pecorino) overpowered the eggs.  Still, one of the nicer baked egg dishes around.

 My black pudding beignets though I simply LOVED.  Grilled corn salsa, charred leeks, saffron parsnip puree, sriarcha jam, perfectly poached eggs, all very good but the star of the show was the black pudding.  Lightly crisp outer shell, with a soft slightly spongy interior and delicate flavours, just a delight to eat.  Unfortunately it’s not offered as an extra, otherwise I would likely have ordered an extra helping!

I was also a big fan of my super spiced cocao, ‘enhanced’ with fresh chilli, ginger, orange zest and cardamom, amongst other things.  Definitely zingy but balanced without too much of a chilli punch. 

Verdict: We loved it.

Interesting and very good food with good service, the only minor issue with the spacing and noise levels, which at times did make conversation a little difficult.  Still a great local café for me in a very unexpected location.

District Brewer on Urbanspoon

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