Brunch · Melbourne

The Reading Room Cafe

For my very first cafe/restaurant review, I thought it best to explain the picture gracing my blog header at the moment.

So yes, that picture was taken at The Reading Room Cafe, a cosy little cafe nestled inside Victoria University.

The Reading Room Cafe
88 Ballarat Road, Footscray, Victoria University, Building P, Ground floor

This cafe came under my radar as I follow this particular blogger and I’ve noticed that she tends to visit this cafe quite abit. In a place like Melbourne, I actually find it hard to revisit a cafe – there are just too many choices! But if a food blogger like her can visit so many cafes and yet still fall back on this option, there’s gotta be something about this place. So I just had to find out what it is.

So I arranged with my ever-dependable brunch partner, Ms CC to brunch at this cafe before our Saturday Youth Fellowship. Ms CC is a dear sister-in-Christ to me and I really treasure our heart-to-heart brunch sessions. The sad thing is that she may be leaving early next year… oh no, who’s going to pick me up and whisk me away to some brunch adventure on Saturday mornings from now on?? Oh well, we’ll just have to wait and see!

Anyway, it was quite an adventure venturing into Footscray itself. Both of us agreed that the suburb is like the Chinatown of Singapore in the ’80s or ’90s – bustling with so many Asians and old-looking shophouses. We felt like we were stepping back in time!

But once we got to the cafe, it felt like the familiar Melbourne all over again. And it was down to brunch business!

Cold Drip Coffee - $4.50, Piccolo Latte - $3.60
Cold Drip Coffee – $4.50, Piccolo Latte – $3.60

We decided to go a little adventurous with our coffee choices that day. Ms CC went for the cold drip coffee while I chose the piccolo latte.

Wow, both coffees were definitely strong! With the coffee being chilled, you could actually taste the floral notes in the cold drip. Whereas for the piccolo latte, the espresso was really concentrated, making it a very strong drink. And I think the coffee beans used were roasted with dark chocolate as well, making it quite bitter! This is definitely not a coffee for the fainthearted!

The barista overheard us commenting about how strong the coffees were and he actually apologised to us! I guess he felt bad that we were not fully enjoying our coffees. So a few minutes later, he gave us a complimentary latte!

Latte on the house! Usually $3.60
Latte on the house! Usually $3.60

This really made our day – who doesn’t like freebies?? And especially a cuppa of smooth latte that really hit the spot. The creaminess of the milk did help to balance out the acidity of the espresso, making it a more comforting drink.

Haha after sampling 3 coffees, we were definitely buzzing and ready to take on our brunchfare!

Fritters Lane - $16
Fritters Lane – $16

One of the dishes we ordered was the Fritter’s Lane – 2 corn fritters with poached eggs, avocado salsa, tomato chutney & fresh salad at the side. The flavours were really fresh and went well together but I found the corn fritters a little soggy. The best corn fritters I’ve had so far was at St. Ali’s, with the right crispy texture. If anyone has had better corn fritters, please let me know!

The next dish, however, was a winner dish.

Poached Eggs with avocado, tomato salsa, dukkah & bacon on a brioche - $16.50
Poached Eggs with avocado, tomato salsa, dukkah & bacon on a brioche – $16.50

I’ve just tried looking up this dish on the website but it seems that they have taken it out of the menu. The closest dish to this on the menu seems to be the Foreign Affairs, but with bacon instead of the mushrooms listed on the menu. There was definitely a Middle Eastern vibe to this dish, with the taste of dukkah lifting up the dish. The flavours of the ingredients were fresh enough, but the dukkah definitely made it very special.

The eggs were also poached to perfection – just look at how it sheds a tear of yolky joy onto my plate! :`)

And being away from the commercial strips of cafes, The Reading Room Cafe didn’t have the infamous Melbourne brunch crowds and we found that we could really eat at leisure. It was also nice that the barista cared enough that we enjoyed our coffees, to give one on the house. So with a cosy atmosphere, warm service and good food, needless to say, we enjoyed our meal very much.

So that’s the story behind my blog header and my journey into finding out the ‘it’ factor of The Reading Room Cafe. I can now see why it’s an easy fall-back choice for simple and satisfying brunch fare without fighting the brunch crowds. A great option for a slow Saturday morning!

Reading Room Cafe on Urbanspoon