05 Feb The Story of CH James in Fairfield
CH James or Charles Henry James was a budding philanthropist of the Northern suburbs. Well known in the north for his business flair, legend says that the laneway culture of Melbourne, was a legacy of CH James. Hurray, laneways where you don’t get mugged! CH James in Fairfield pays ode to the Victorian gentlemen. Owner Theo Krambias, inspired by the concept of a local hero, converts the old Alfio’s Caffe, into the CJ James of today. The outdoor courtyard is a popular hang amongst the locals. The cafe decorated with yester-year knick knacks – a pitcher fork here, a wagon wheel there. You will commonly find Theo greeting diners with an enthusiastic ‘Hello’. Despite, the inspiration from older years, the menu is modern, well-plated and tasty. Three ticks for CH James.
We had just returned from the land of the trump – jet-lagged, bloated from junk food and missing Melbourne cafes terribly. CH James was the Melbourne welcome back, that we needed. The Lamb Fry Up is quintessential hangover food. If a fully sick kebab could be turned into a refined brunch dish – this is it. Strands of pulled lamb are plated with fried eggs and hash browns, lightened by a smoked yoghut, dukkah and a vibrant salsa verde. Korean inspiration is found in the pan roasted king ora salmon, the funky fermented kim chi, merging with dollops of prawn emulsion. The flesh is perfectly pink.
The simple name of ‘ Spring fruit bowl’ doesn’t prepare diners for the elegantly plated dish that arrives. I generally steer away from granolas, acai bowls and such, but I admit I was attracted to the appearance. A seemingly simple fruit salad, taken to the next level with delicate threads of candied grapefruit, pickled watermelon rind and chia seed crusted watermelon. The combination of sour and sweet, bringing out the natural sweetness of the fruits. Not your everyday fruit bowl, that’s for sure.
CH James is one of the better cafes in the North. There’s simple breakfasts for those that desire it, but I’m opting for the modern dishes. Tip your hat off to CH James.