Miss Jackson

2/19 Grey St
St Kilda, VIC 3182
03 9534 8415

I’m a twitter geek. I use twitter to follow foodies, bloggers, chefs, restaurants, cafés and anybody I find interesting. It’s a great way to keep in touch with what’s going on in the food world and get to know Melbourne’s close-knit foodie community. Even though my avatar @fatbooo was meant to talk only about food, I’ve started to cross boundaries and recently began tweeting about my #NaughtyFosterKittens and next year’s #EasterHolidayPlans. It almost feels like @fatbooo has taken a life of his own, immersed in a world of food, speaking endlessly about cooking, eating while also integrating titbits of his daily life and thoughts into his tweets.

@Missjacksoncafe had recently announced her Summer menu, it sounded amazing. I knew it was time to give it a go and relive a few memories. Melbourne’s first ever Food Bloggers’ DInner (#MelbFBD) was held at Miss Jackson last month. I had a smashing evening at that event, read the post link to find out how 5 food bloggers faced the challenge of cooking a five-course meal for the public. We ended on a high note that night with a phenomenal trio of desserts made by @missjacksoncafe. I remember I really loved the crème brulée tart and made a mental note to revisit this café for brunch. It so happened Ees wanted to catch up before I left for Singapore. I suggested Sunday brunch at Miss Jackson, he said “yes”, and brought along Packer. @Missjacksoncafe told me it can get busy on Sundays, so I made a booking. 

I still sense this home-made feel to the place. The joint feels as if part of a large house has been sectioned off and converted into a café. It feels as if a family lives in the main part of the house, and runs this brunch business on the side out of fun. The staff feels that way too. Casual, relaxed… sometimes a little amateurish in a sweet way. Very different from the slick, well-oiled machine atmosphere you get at bustling brunch places like Las Chicas and Auction Rooms. The service can be a little erratic at times, could that be part of the home-made charm?

The denizens of St Kilda seem to like this café. It is a quiet, hidden oasis right in the middle of notorious Grey St, with its riot of sex workers, homeless people and druggies. A pair of dread-locked hippies sat beside us and daintily consumed coffee and eggs. Very cute, I loved watching the civilised incongruity. On sunny days, you can brunch alfresco in the timber planked front courtyard. It is dog friendly as well.

Ees and Packer quite liked the coffees here. They use Allpress bean. I thought it was okay, reasonably rich but a little on the bitter and sharp side. I really should try to check out coffee appreciation courses. My bean knowledge is is rather beany. :p

Ees was sleepy, possibly a little cranky, and went with comfort food. Corn Fritters, with bacon, avocado, roasted vine tomatoes and homemade chilli jam $14.50.  He really liked the tomatoes but thought the corn fritters could be more moist. Packer and I had a small taste, it was good, and surprisingly sweet. I liked it. Ees thought the sweet chilli jam didn’t go as well with the dish because the fritters were already sweet. He preferred the fritters @_MissMarmalade in Brunswick. Later on, he noticed that the teaspoon on his second latte wasn’t clean. Editors… lol. I’m never one to be that observant, ha ha!
Packer was very hungry. He went classic and got the Steak Sandwich, with caramelised onions, fresh tomato, rocket and fries $15.50. The dish was polished off very rapidly and with great satisfaction.

I went adventurous, I tried the Panzzanella Salad, with grilled haloumi $13. Mmmm.. I should’ve ordered good ‘ol eggs, lol. The salad looked gorgeous on the plate, with multicoloured heirloom tomatoes, but the flavours were difficult to take in. Everything was familiar yet unfamiliar. It was strong yet light, punchy yet refreshing, nice but not nice. The Cypriot haloumi cheese was incredibly salty, but it’s offset by the clean juiciness of the tomatoes and went well with the uplifting freshness of basil. But what confused things were the marinated olives which were also strong in taste and the intense acidity of the lemon vinegar dressing. The bread pieces were crunchy but quite swamped by the strong dressing. Overall, I found there was too much saltiness and sourness in this dish and wished there was more sweetness in it as well. I can’t make a call about this dish yet because it’s my first try and I have no point of comparison. 

I was quite dismayed that they didn’t really have a selection of desserts. I really liked the crème brulée tart at #MelbFBD and hoped to try more sweets made by @missjacksoncafe. We could only choose from the few sweet dishes in the breakfast half of the menu. We settled on the Melon Carpaccio, with passionfruit semi-freddo $8.50. The semi-freddo was pretty good, the melons were okay, but I liked how there was a sprinkle of baby basil leaves on top of everything. It made the dessert feel like a carpaccio, distinct and cleansing. @Missjacksoncafe has been tweeting about getting an ice-cream maker. I am curious what homemade flavours she will come up with.  

This place has a homely feel, the coffees are decent and the food is alright. I hope Miss Jackson’s menu will have a bigger dessert selection in the future. I haven’t tried the eggs, I’ve heard the café is really good with its egg dishes. Some of the other items in the menu also look appealing. Like the crumbed chicken burger, lamb and quinoa salad, ricotta pancakes, potato gnocchi and spanish baked eggs. Has anyone tried these dishes? Let me know!

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