Sunday, July 15, 2012

Auction Rooms - Twenty & Six Espresso - Palookaville - The French Quarter

Auction Rooms
107 Errol Street
North Melbourne

It's amazing what we miss when we don't pay attention, which only brings up the question of what else has escaped our sight in our moments of minimal awareness. I've lived in the area for approaching two decades* without once paying attention to my surroundings, whatever shops lined the streets, let alone the actual names of the streets themselves. Bragging about the foods I've eaten to online passerbys may not an ideal way of enriching my life or taming my ego, but at the very least, it's teaching me about where I am and the thousands of treasures just waiting to be unearthed, whether they're hidden in lanes, or in plain sight.

Auction Rooms is among the easier eateries to locate - look for a standout blue building and the chatty crowd, eager to step in for a brunch and good coffees to match.

Friday 9am: Planned breakfast with T. She took a wrong tram. I was at the wrong bus stop.
9.40 am: T becomes un-lost and makes her way to the destination. I'm standing at the pedestrian crossing, amazed at the new fangled sensors and waving my hand over it. 
9.45 am: Mmm. Coffee. (T's mocha)
While I enjoy my lattes, I hate that they come in glasses and not in pretty coloured cups on saucers. According to that Chinese podcast though, it's a part of Melbourne's coffee culture, so I'll respect that. This visit marked the second time I've come across a delightful coffee with a wonderful aroma. It's not too strong however, to the point where even Mother, (she comes in later) who's used to her weak lattes dealt very well with a normal strengthed coffee. Menu wise, I loved the more interesting breakfast/brunch options here, in addition to the typical eggs and toast. 
 My lamb and tomato stew with eggplant, olives, feta, poached eggs and flatbread. Hearty and not too heavy on the seasoning. It may look dull in the photo, but once you break into the yolk and unleash the gold, the colours are beautiful, rather like the setting sun against the darkened sky. No plastic-y eggplant skin here of course, just soft, mild flesh. Tastes even better if you wrap the tender lamb in the lightly toasted bread.

T ordered the onion soup with kaiserfleisch (google has confirmed my spelling) and some other components I've forgotten ^^; All I know about it is that the pork is a pain to saw through xD

Sunday brunch was take two, this time with Mother. Again it was a <5 minute wait, so while it's nice to bask in the company of numerous friends, the fewer there is, the faster you get food :P
 Mother's poached eggs, sourdough, and additional side of avocado. Eggs were cooked for a bit longer so the yolk wasn't as runny. Slightly vinegary.
Ocean trout, on avocado and toast with beetroot pickled egg, cucumber and radish slices. And a latte! 
Doesn't it resemble a pond with koi, lily pads and a lotus flower?
  Trout wasn't as relenting as the salmon at Seven Seeds (could be characteristics of the fish. I'm no expert) but still smooth and tender. The millimetre thin slices of radish and cucumber added a welcome degree of freshness and the sweetened boiled egg was so simple, but so good! I couldn't help but wish there was some wasabi to add a more thrilling element though ^^;

Both experiences at Auction Rooms were fine and dandy! Orderly wait system with a guy and his trusty clipboard to take down the name and number of seats required for entering customers, and generally patient and friendly staff :)

 *vague attempt at sounding old to imply that I have some sort of wisdom attainable only with age. Another several decades too soon!
Auction Rooms on Urbanspoon

Twenty &Six Espresso 
 594 Queensberry Street
North Melbourne

Horribly great idea to have come here straight after filling the stomach with lamb stew from Auction Rooms.
They have Bambi glasses too~

A wonderful equation.

What makes some foam so bubbly?
But heck, this was great! An indulgent forkful of lightly toasted, though still very moist banana, raisin and walnut bread. Two thick slices sandwiched a layer of lusciously creamy, nutty ricotta lightly dipped in the berry coulis. A sip of comparatively bitter coffee to balance out the sweetness, then the sigh of contentment.

Who could resist?

...Just make sure you come with an empty stomach.

1/9 Edit: I came back~

Twenty & Six Espresso on Urbanspoon

 416 Brunswick Street

  Moroccan Soup Bar was packed, with no available seats until 8.30. As great as their food is said to be, our stomachs weren't waiting 1.5 hours, so we ended up at Palookaville. I'll admit, I had very low hopes for this place, but as usual I was proven wrong. Sure it didn't blow my mind, but $15 for an open steak sandwich (of good size too), I don't have any major complaints ;P
T's Persian lamb shanks

Open scotch fillet steak sandwich on garlic brushetta, rocket, tomato salsa, onion marmalade & seeded mustard mayonaise, hand cut chips

Steak wasn't too thick and had been overcooked so there weren't much juices. Rocket and mayonnaise somewhat supplemented for that though, with a small amount of tomato and onion salsa under the steak. Beetroot gave it an overall, nice tang, and chips were thick and crunchy.

If it weren't too far (relatively) from the city, I wouldn't mind returning for the cheap eats.

The French Quarter -  Patisserie Boulangerie
570 Queensberry St
North Melbourne

Take-away treats. 
Tray of petit fours ($7)
 I've only tried the little lemon tart. Buttery shortbread pastry. Lemon is initially very tangy, but further bites unveiled its sweet side.


  1. Hey! In answer to your question re: bubbles in a latte - that would be because it was sitting for ages. Nothing wrong with the milk....

  2. Hey! In answer to your question re: bubbles in a latte - that would be because it was sitting for ages. Nothing wrong with the milk....

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