With the hot new ‘we’re so cool we’ve made an effort to look like we’ve made no effort’ cafes flourishing all over Sydney, it’s easy to forget that Melbourne has been doing super-urban, hipster laneway style café bars since Fawkner established his colonial settlement in 1835 (give or take a few years). This possibly explains why Melbourne was Australia’s most populous city for approximately ten years until 1891*.
Melbourne invented the menu on a blackboard, minimalist warehouse look furnished with high quality baked goods that have become the hallmark ingredients of success and originality for recent additions to the Sydney café /bar scene. Stumbling across Il Fornaio on a sunny St Kilda morning, we discover real plants on the walls, random stuffed toys on the ceiling and a well thought out menu that does Melbournites proud. Not to mention the cheeky, hipster waiters who banter with us mercilessly as we navigate the tricky sweet versus savoury brunch debate.
With Entourage Season 1 and a date with Conrad (bidding up to $60) distracting us from the main game, we enjoy our fair-trade, organic coffee (made with “magic beans”) and peruse the menu. Despite the irresistible array of cakes beckoning to us from the counter, savoury wins. And impresses.
*...and then they realised that Sydney had beaches.