If you are seriously researching the history of Victoria, online searches will get you only so far. Eventually you will end up in North Melbourne at the unassuming but amazing Public Records Office of Victoria. I was providing occasional assistance to Bilby Blue’s quest for knowledge, and a busy morning riffling through archival boxes guaranteed we were ready for lunch.
Baked meatball sub – pork and thyme meatballs, Napoli sauce, pecorino and rocket served with taro chips
North Melbourne is home to quite a few breakfast/brunch places. Our chosen venue was favourably reviewed by Snooze way back in 2010, so it was high time to revisit the Di Bella Coffee Roasting Warehouse Melbourne.
This is an outlet of the Brisbane-based Di Bella Coffee Roasting Warehouse business. An impressive industrial-sized coffee roasting machine dominates the interior of a converted garage, with tables and chairs sourced, at a guess, from auction-houses in three or four different job lots that don’t quite match. A similar ‘whatever works’ sensibility is evident in the serving counters and other furnishings. Vintage domestic coffee machines complete the décor. The aroma of fresh coffee is not as strong as I expected, but the place is humming with customers enjoying both the food and the coffee. With impeccable timing a table is vacated as we arrive and we immediately pounce. It is an informal and welcoming place. Come as you are. No pretensions here.
The all-day breakfast menu offers some tempting variations of the usual morning fare – think coffee cured salmon with pickled beetroot, fennel remoulade, confit egg and brioche; white crab omelette with watercress, spring onion and Chinese style ginger broth; and my choice, the baked meatball sub – pork and thyme meatballs, Napoli sauce, pecorino and rocket served with taro chips – as I am more than a bit peckish and this looks like it will be reasonably substantial (see first pic).
It comes attractively presented and it is enormous! The bread roll has a great texture and copes well with the luscious warm sauce. The only niggle is that the meatballs are a bit soft, and biting into the sub invites globs of meaty goodness to ooze down your chin. Not a pretty sight, but it is delicious, although somewhat larger than what I would normally have for breakfast, it is exactly what I am after for lunch.
Bilby chooses from the lunch menu - the rather enticing-sounding crispy duck leg salad (with lychees, papaya, Thai herbs and nahm jim). It is lovely and fresh, with the duck having perfectly rendered crispy skin encasing the juicy flesh and a good sweet / sour / salty balance in the salad, although perhaps bit lighter than she was hoping for after a heavy morning’s brainwork.
We decide to forgo the selection of rustic-looking cakes and slices on display on this occasion, and finish with a hot chocolate and an iced chocolate. Always on the lookout for standout chocolate beverages, these prove to be acceptable, but nothing special.