Melbournians are self-confessed coffee snobs, contemptuously turning up our noses at Starbucks and professing our undying love for Australian independent cafes. ‘I can’t start the day without my coffee!’, a common outcry on Monday morning, with the dawning realisation of a new working week. Coffee is integral to the Melbourne lifestyle, and with that comes a myriad of new openings with exceptional food and coffee. The Vertue of the Coffee Drink is no exception. Naturally, it’s located down a laneway (Raffa Pl).
A seemingly dilapidated white door opens to reveal a modern interior, with custom made wooden furniture, planter boxes reaching the ceiling and futuristic isometric globes from Lucretia Lightning. We sat on the mezzanine level, looking down on the beast itself – a gleaming new coffee roaster with copper plumbing, churning out freshly roasted coffee beans. A very impressive interior, where open spaces and natural lighting is king.
Scotch Eggs w/ Piccalilli Mayonnaise, Onion Marmalade, Crispy Pig Skin, Brioche Soldiers
The Scotch Eggs wrapped in sausage meat, coated in a textured crumb, reveals an oozy golden yolk within. The tang of the Piccalilli Mayonnaise and onion marmalade was the perfect accompaniment. Who knew that Pig Skin could be so fluffy and light? It’s a far cry from the heaviness of a pork crackling. A calorific surprise, indeed.
Eight Hour Lamb Shoulder w/ Tabouleh, Baby Broccoli, Dukkah, Tahini
The shredded slow-cooked lamb was alive with Meditteranean flavours. A rustic winner that reminded me of an open kebab mixed with Tabouleh, Dukkah and Tahini. Simply put, the Eight Hour Lamb shoulder is a carnivore’s brunch. Perfect for your gym bro.
Now, we can’t forget the vegetarians can we? Finely mashed chickpeas, crumbed and fried, formed an asymmetric stack of fried goodness – soft & sweet on the inside and golden brown on the outside. Eaten with shavings of parmesan cheese and crisp asparagus, this dish is perfect for lovers of a good chip.
Pancetta Wrapped Terrine – Pork, Ham Hock, Black Pudding, Shiitake mushroom, Quail egg, Toasted Brioche
The Pork terrine is all things porcine. A terrine of Pork, Ham Hock and Black pudding wrapped in a thick slice of pancetta is a meaty option indeed. If you’re after a hot brunch, this may not be the best option. However, if you’re a lover of delicatessen meats, the terrine is a satisfying choice.
The menu is innovative and tasty at Vertue of the Coffee Drink. If you’re an avid coffee lover or a fan of brunch (who isn’t), this modern Carlton cafe is a definite crowd pleaser. No doubt, this cafe will cement itself as a Melbourne favourite. Get here before the crowds do.