We eat at Reading Room Cafe so much it’s a wonder we go anywhere else for brunch.
Melbourne has a ton of cooler than cool cafes, and when I asked the Boys for help with an analogy, they said:
“If Melbourne’s hip cafes are the popular kids, Reading Room Cafe is like that nerdy kid that everyone beats up for his/her lunch money. But then s/he grows up and becomes successful and cool, while the ex-popular kids are working at Hungry Jacks.”
I’m not sure they know what an analogy actually is.
However, Reading Room Cafe is solid (and they are definitely *not* the kid that gets beat up). It’s one of my favourites because it ticks all my boxes:
– The food is good and it’s interesting.
– The menu changes seasonally, with weekly specials.
– The coffee is good.
– It’s close to home.
– We can always get a table without having to wait.
The cafe is located in the campus of Victoria University, so if you’ve never been there before you need to walk into the Uni.
As I said before, they do good coffee, with beans from Sensory Lab and Small Batch. They also do cold drip, though the last few occasions I’ve visited they haven’t had any available (to my severe disappointment).
As for the food, all day breakfast and lunch is served on the weekend. The menu items are creatively named, linked to reading and books, such as Grain of Thought, Eggs Hemingway, and Crackle-San to name a few – oooo wee I do love a play on words.
Now check out some of the food. The following food photos have been collated over the past year.
One favourite is the Fritter’s Lane: Spiced sweet corn, pumpkin and coriander, fritters, poached eggs, avocado, tomato chutney and sumac salt ($16).
The fritters are so nice: crispy on the outside, soft but not too doughy inside, and plenty of salsa and avocado to add interest.
Here’s the BFG: Brioche French toast with crispy bacon, candied walnuts and maple syrup ($15). Very decadent and rich. I’d recommend sharing this one unless you have a super sweet tooth.
(Also, Roald Dahl references – YES.)
Banoffee’s Twist: Banana bread, house ricotta, dulce de leche and banana ($9). I know that banana bread is just an excuse to eat cake for breakfast, but with ricotta and fresh banana it’s super healthy. Right? Right?
Better Than John West: Grilled asparagus, cold smoked Tasmanian salmon, poached eggs, spiced goat’s cheese ($16.50).
I almost ordered it just based on the name.
South of Provence: French country style omelette, dry cured pancetta, golden potatoes, caramelised onion, petite peas and gruyere crostini ($16.50). I don’t even like open omelettes normally (or peas) and I loved this, particularly the little bursts of sweetness from the onion contrasted with the starchy potatoes and egg.
Finer Things in Life: spanner crab croquettes, tomato avocado salsa, cayenne and seaweed tartare ($15.50).
A weekend special that Alastair ordered one weekend: Sweet brioche French toast, basil poached plum, apricot coulis, espresso mascarpone, chocolate dukkah ($15).
Another weekend special that Alastair ordered: baked eggs, meatballs and pumpkin.
You can see why I really like this place. Every time is a good time. They’re so solid I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed.
(Oh and I’ll give out 10 points for a better analogy. It won’t be hard!)
View Off the spork in a larger map
The Reading Room Cafe
Victoria University (Footscray Park campus, Building P, Ground floor)
88 Ballarat Road
Phone: 03 9919 4091