16 Jul Au79 – Melbourne’s biggest cafe
Au79 is the megalopolis of the cafe sphere. It’s Melbourne’s biggest cafe to date. Named after the element Gold or ‘ AU’ on the periodic table, the team have set golden expectations. The 200-seater could well-fit several of Melbourne’s more modest cafes. This is the first original venture from the Coffee Communication Culture Group, whose previous credentials include Sir Charles, Addict, Liar Liar and St Edmonds. When you have something good – replicate it and triple the size.
Bakery, patisserie, cafe, coffee roaster – all in one
A glass ‘enclosure’ houses the in-house baker, kneading bread and pastries, to scare away the gluten-free crowd. You know what they say, ‘you can rob a bank with a bagel, these days’. An in-house roastery, run by Minekazu Hirayama, turns out the house blend. The kitchen pass is a thriving hub of activity, churning out dishes, with an Asian spin. To the naked eye, this is a cool, up-and-coming cafe. Behind the scenes is a well-oiled supply chain, transforming the humble cafe into a super one.
Traditionalists can order the classics – smashed avos or big breakfasts. But, why be boring when the point of difference is the Asian spin. The must-order is the Korean Veggie Benedict. The humble benedict taken to new levels, with a punchy Gochujang hollandaise, funky house-made Kim Chi and plump roasted field mushrooms. Anything with Kim chi or gochujang and I’m salivating. The signature is the Okonomiyaki – a Japanese pancake laced with crispy sweet potato crisps.
For the sweet-tooths, the Belgian waffle balls, will keep the ‘grammers happy. The dessert special is Hong Kong French toast, stuffed with peanut butter and jam. The large dollops of dulce de leche, goes overboard on sweetness, but it’s something you can easily eat around. Cronuts and pastries are also available.
Note, weekend specials can sell-out quickly, particularly when it’s scrambled eggs with truffle shavings!
On any given weekend, a queue of eager brunchers seek to enter the urban jungle. The old motor garage, turned jungle in the city, has enough vegetation to hide an extinct Dodo. Despite, the ‘new’ status, teething problems are minimal. A feat that is most impressive, considering the size of the venue. Running like a well-oiled cog, Au79 meets its golden expectations.
Korean Veggie Benedict w/ House-made Kim Chi, Roast field mushrooms, Gochujang hollandaise, Toasted sesame seeds, Herb Salad
Belgian Waffle Balls w/ passionfruit cream, banana compote, pineapple, banana crumb, pandan ice cream
Hong Kong French Toast w/ Peanut Butter, Jam, Poached Rhubarb, Brulee pineapple, Coconut mascarpone, Dulce de Leche
Must order: Korean Veggie Kim-chi benedict
Rating: 4 cookies out of 5
Hungrycookie dined courtesy of AU79. All opinions are strictly my own.
27-29 Nicholson St