I was banned.
There wasn’t supposed to be another review of another brunch venue in North Melbourne.
However, a Friday off work, the opportunity to review one of the famous cafes in North Melbourne without the infamous wait.
Now, its hard to judge all of these places. At one stage they all had real quality. Now, some are still trading on their reputation while others are forging new ground. Which side of the coin would Beatrix fall? Its not every place in Melbourne that can boast a 97% rating on urbanspoon? Do hipsters use urbanspoon?
The place is small, so the coffee machine is just there….. just there… It’s close to you where-ever you sit. The waft of fresh coffee beans tickles your nose, as the bang crash from the knock boxes smashes your ears. Its early, I’m allowed to be precious.
The coffee is as the coffee should be in North Melbourne. Excellent. It’s unique too, a smooth finish to it. Well, that’s what my uneducated coffee brain says to me.
No-one explained it to us, but we worked out that Beatrix runs 3 main items from a standard menu, and then a special that changes each day. ALL the items are sandwiches, or ciabatta’s.
So Mrs Johnson and I shared a Beat-L-T (really a BLT but made somewhat cooler by the use of the cafe’s name in the name of the menu item) and the slow roasted pork belly ciabatta.
Now the pork belly sounded impressive. I’m imagining that the pork belly would have to have been cooking overnight so I expected delicious, soft, tender, succulent pork belly. There was an extra 10 minutes wait while they got the crackling sorted out which I have no problems with… I love my pork belly.
Now the meat was brilliant, everything I had hoped for….. except….
I couldn’t taste it. The roll was served with some form of dill-slaw that completely over powered the meat, much to the extent that I had to pull the pork out just to taste it. Meat that had been prepared so carefully….. only to be slaughtered by a slaw. See what I did there?
The Beat-L-T had a similar problem. The bacon was some of the best cooked bacon I’ve tasted, chunky cuts of fresh tomato, crisp lettuce… however the apple aioli was over whelming. Pity really.
The cakes all looked fresh and delicious and I think we’ll head back there some time for a slice and a coffee, but for brunch? I have to preach the old matra…. Less is more.
Beatrix is located at 688 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne