Friday, August 8, 2014

The Eastern Bloc, Coburg by Big Fil

Located off the main Sydney Road Coburg drag, on Bell Street towards the train station, The Eastern Bloc so far is more a local community establishment rather than a destination café.  It does however have one particular element that distinguishes it from most other cafes in the area, something quite unusual in Melbourne which encouraged us to pay a visit. 

Unfortunately though poor timing meant that Ms Ruby Grapefruit and I were unable to properly explore this.  And what is that unusual element?  An Eastern-European ‘influenced’ menu, particularly the luncheon menu which we should have sampled, rather than the breakfast menu which we did.

Talking to the happy and friendly owners, the reason they opened The Eastern Bloc was they loved many of the northern side cafes and wanted to replicate that experience in the Coburg area.  The space they have created is very family friendly, especially the back room which includes some cool couches and cow skin rugs – very 1970’s – as well as some retro chic style posters which evoke a somewhat artsy and utopian vision of mid-century Eastern Europe. 

The front room on the other hand is much more typical Melbourne Café, complete with cakes behind the counter, a communal table, highly stylised lighting and my favourite, a green, grassy rabbit family. 

There are a few tables outside, which were not usable on a cold and windy winters day, and the plan is to open an outside courtyard at the back, but that is waiting on more time and warmer summer weather.

While there were a few specials posted up to supplement the regular menu, neither Ms Grapefruit or I found the options on offer particularly interesting.  We both ended up deciding on the big breakfast, scrambled eggs, beans, sliced mushrooms, sausages and bacon with buttered toast.  This was one of those dishes where all the individual elements are fine, and there is nothing wrong with the dish as a whole, but nothing really stands out about it compared to a lot of other places around town.  The best element was the bacon which lifted it into the above average category. 

The Eastern Bloc is a nice, friendly and welcome addition to an area which until recently was light on for good, modern Melbourne style cafes.  While it may not have the polish of some other more established places it has its own funky style, bringing something different to a part of town where the good, cheap eateries are dominated by middle-eastern flavours. Next time though, it’s definitely lunch for us.

Food – 7 (noting we didn’t get to try the more interesting sounding options)
Service – 7.5
Ambience – 7.5
Price – 7

133 Bell Street
Coburg VIC
Tel: (03) 9354 8830

The Eastern Bloc on Urbanspoon

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