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As we have just missed our tram to South Melbourne to check out St Ali, we decided to just stay in the city and have breakfast at some of the cafes tucked away in the vibrant Melbourne laneways. If this is your first time in Melbourne and not sure where to go for some good coffee and breakfast, then I would suggest the Degraves Street is a good start. I came across this laneway during my last visit and instantly fell in love with it. Since this is Helen's first visit to Degraves Street, I've decided to go back to Degraves Espresso for our first breakfast.
Degraves Espresso is always busy, so be prepared to wait even just to ask for the menu. The food at Degraves Espresso is average affair but it is its quirky charm that has captured my heart. The tiny cafe is jam packed with mismatched cinema chairs, altar benches and all sorts; the whole rustic look is so "Melbourne".
We ordered fruit toasts with mascarpone and honey, and Egg Benedict to share. I do find the Hollandaise sauce on the egg benedict is a little tarty on the palate from the lemon juice they used. But it is the coffee that we both disappointed with. My latte and Helen's flat white are bit weak in flavour using Toby's Estate coffee.
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Melbourne's laneways are not just about cafes; it is art, culture and it has its own lifestyle. The urban graffiti art is inevitable in these modern days and instead of trying to ban it, Melbourne city council has specifically allocated a few laneways in city centre with street art permit where artists can go crazy over these giant blank canvas.
There are a few laneways you can check out the graffiti art (Yes, I do call it 'art'). Direct opposite from Degraves Street, is the Centre Place which is another laneway with cafes, a soup place, and grotty graffiti art right at the end where the industrial trash bins are kept. Not far from David Jones on Collins St, Union Lane is another long stretch of laneway fully covered in amazing graffiti art. And the most impressive laneway will have to be Hosier Lane which is also where MoVida and MoVida next door are located.
"Bonjour!" greeted by the owner Michel as we take a seat outside the cafe. The tiny shop is equipped with a few machines at the front where the waiter "also" chef will make the crepes for your viewing pleasure.
I did mentioned this is our second breakfast, so we won't go too crazy with the order and both share a savoury galette, and a sweet crepe. The three cheese galette comes in a weird shaped pancake with inside smothered with goat cheese, Morbier melted and blue cheese. The elastic Morbier is leathery with a weak flavour which is unfortunately dominated by the pungent blue cheese and the gamey goat cheese.
Helen is more interested in the french chestnuts crepe. The wafer thin crepe is spread with a thin layer of canned French chestnut puree. Can't say chestnuts is my favourite food, but it does remind me of eating a Mont Blanc gateaux in Japan.
So many laneways, so little time. Melbourne, I will be back.
Dear Sydney, where's my laneway cafes?
[A Table For Two visited Melbourne for Melbourne Food & Wine Festival courtesy of Tourism Victoria]
Degraves Espresso Bar 23 Degraves Street
Melbourne, Victoria, 3000
P:+61 3 9654 1245
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 7am-late, Sat 8.30am-late
Roule Galette - French Crêperie Scott Alley, 241 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
P (03) 9639 0307
Monday - Thursday 7 AM to 8 PM
Friday 7 AM to 9.30 PM
Saturday - Sunday 10 AM to 5 PM