In the midst of many cafe giants, let me tell you something about Di Bella Coffee Roasting Warehouse: it is Melbourne’s best kept secret.
Tucked away in a quiet corner of North Melbourne, this cafe has never come on my radar. But time and again, I would hear Daimz mention about this place. I just didn’t think too much of it, as there was always a much more talked-about cafe that I wanted to try out.
But one day, he had a less-than-satisfying experience at Top Paddock, much to my surprise, and he told me that Di Bella was still way better. Now, I know Daimz knows his coffee and food so since he wasn’t too impressed with 1 of my favourite Melbourne cafes, I had to find out what’s the fuss about….
Incidentally, this was also going to be our last brunch with Ms CC who was leaving Melbourne for good (sobs). So we thought we better pick a good place for our last brunch with her, and decided to hold Daimz accountable for his recommendation!
I was immediately impressed by the fact that they make their own coffee in-house (I guess the words ‘coffee’, ‘roasting’ and ‘warehouse’ in the cafe’s name should have rang a bell already.. DUH!). So I was looking forward to a good cuppa coffee!
Our waiter told us that the 2 blends used that day were the Arnika Reserve and Modena. Apart from Andrew, the rest of us went ahead with the Modena blend.
Because we are such cooperative people and like to taste a variety of food, we decided to share our dishes. But Andrew again, well, because he likes to be different, decided to have his own dish.
Anyway, it wasn’t long before we had our coffees served!
Haha I like how despite all of us going for the same blend, we went for different types of coffees and went about sipping each other’s coffees and giving our 2 cents’ worth – what will I do without my brunch gang??
And after our group sampling, we came to the conclusion that the coffee was delicious. Wow, it’s been a long time since I described a coffee as ‘delicious’! The blend was very pleasant, as you can taste the smooth sweetness of the honey and caramel, and then ending with that bitter hit of dark chocolate.
We all also thought that the Magic was the best out of the lot, as the ratio of espresso to milk really brought out the best of the blend – yayyy guess who got that winner cup of Magic?? 😛
We also didn’t have to wait long for our food – service was really efficient!
Andrew’s comments were that while the salmon was cooked nicely, he still preferred the ocean cured trout served at Top Paddock and he found the black skordalia a little strange. I guess overall, it was an okay but not outstanding dish.
Now, this is apparently Mr DC’s favourite dish when he comes to Di Bella so we had high expectations of it. This is a simple dish but somehow, it was lip-smackingly delicious.
I really like the stringy texture you get from the hash browns as you can taste how well-cooked the shreds of potatoes inside are. And everything on this plate was cooked well – from the crunchy hash browns to the oozy yolk of the eggs, to the hit of salt from the ham and finally with the creamy hollandaise to tie up the entire dish.
Again, another simple dish executed well. There was that fluffy eggy goodness inside with the crispy edges and you can taste the truffle oil throughout. And how can you resist those crispy shards of fried cheese on top? Mr JC commented that he wasn’t a big fan of the olive bits inside that gave it a bitter edge but I didn’t realise it until he pointed it out! Oh well, that was a pretty good omelette to me!
This is 1 dish that captured Ms CC’s heart, and tastebuds. There was the fatty juiciness of the pork, the crunchiness of the balsamic croutons (which I couldn’t get enough of!), the rich yolk of the Son-in-law eggs, the fresh hit of salad and the subtle sweetness in those tiny raisins scattered throughout.
I personally wasn’t too sure of those big leafy coriander that may have overpowered the salad. But I appreciate the different textures in the dish and how well that pork jowl and son-in-law eggs were cooked. And be warned, this is a very hearty dish!
Because Ms NO was craving for it, we even had a side of chips! So that resulted in us tumbling out of Di Bella filled to the brim, and well-caffeinated. To think about it, it’s been awhile since we were fed so well at a Melbourne cafe as we have found that portion sizes have been getting smaller!
To sum up our Di Bella experience, the coffee is of high quality, the brunch fare is simple but well-executed. And with the portion sizes, the food does give you bang for your buck. And we found that in comparison to the more popular Melbourne cafes, Di Bella does not have the infamous long queues and it is big enough to cope with the weekend brunch crowd.
So in all, I guess I would have to give Daimz credit for pointing us to this local insider gem!
And I’m glad that we had such a good experience with it being our last brunch with Ms CC. It’s sad that I’m losing 1 of my best brunch partners and dear sister-in-Christ. But oh well, at least I’m thankful for the memories that we’ve had and that God is leading her to a new phase in her life. Missing you lots already Ms CC, but God willing, we’ll see each other soon 😉