Beatrix | Brasserie Bread
This week’s brunch theme will be all about breads in North and South Melbourne. Beatrix in North Melbourne serves gourmet sandwiches, while Brasserie Bread in South Melbourne is an artisan sourdough bakery from Sydney.
I lunched at Beatrix with Lauren and Willem one Saturday after work.
Okay, I’ve collaged the entrance pics rather oddly… with photos of pouring water and table scatter. But I’ll have to say I love the pic on the left.
But let’s get back into the mood of the post…
Beatrix sits at a corner along the quieter stretch of Queensberry St. And like it’s unassuming location, it’s a very small cafe, seating 12-15 inside at most. Actually, the place felt so cosy that I felt quite ‘invasive’ using my camera in such a tight space.
St Brigit $13.5 L / $12 S
roast free range chicken with fennel mustard mayonnaise and cos-slaw
Beatrix offers a very small menu of gourmet sandwiches, and they change their offerings almost on a daily basis. This is a really good idea for a small café. Focus on a few dishes, but do them very well.
Willem got the St Brigit chicken sandwich, and all that I remember him saying was “Mmmmmmm…!”.
Don’t think that statement needs to be expounded on…
Mushroom Toastie $12
slow roasted mushrooms w smoked provolone & balsamic roquette
Here’s Lauren’s choice, she enjoyed it utterly.
Look at how the sandwich dripped and dripped! Messy eating can be so delightful…
Lita $11.5 L / $10 S
braised organic cavolo nero (black cabbage) with cannellini bean, roasted garlic puree, parmesan, herb salad
I was a little sore-throatey that weekend, so I went for something lighter and a little different. Meat-free… *gasp*!
My sandwich was tart and wet, with good fresh ingredients and wonderful, wonderful bread. I found it a bit too tangy for my liking, but think it’s just a feature of the sandwich that I chose.
And yes, my sandwich also dripped and dripped. If you angle it wrongly whilst eating, you will get juice down to your elbows. We went through a lot of serviettes.
Good sandwiches aside, Beatrix also excels at its cakes and sweets, as evidenced by this neat array of egg-beaters.
Peppermint Tea (by Art Of Tea) $3.8 | 3/4 Latte (by Allpress) $3.5
We ordered teas and coffees to go along with our anticipatory selection of sweet delights.
Potato brioche doughnuts w lemon & sour cream glaze $5
Red velvet layer cake w white chocolate cream cheese $7.5 | Meyer Lemon tart $6.5
And here they are! What a nice way to end a lunch session. I loved how the potato brioche doughnuts had a dense, earthy texture with a hint of savoury. The other cakes were also very well made.
I think Beatrix has got things running very sensibly. The sandwiches are done fabulously and the homemade cakes are just as good. I’m keen on coming back again and being surprised by what’s on offer for that day.
Let’s now cross the city into the more industrial quarter of South Melbourne. Damo and I brunched here on a Saturday after we ran Albert Park Lake.
Like Beatrix, Brasserie Bread is located in a secluded area, close to motor workshops and beside a warehouse gymnasium.
But the theme is less cosy here, it’s more a spacious warehouse bakery café. You order at the counter and take a number to your table.
The glass door that says ‘Breaducation’ is the walkway to where they hold baking classes. Damo and I were very very excited about it, he would love to learn about brioche, while I was more excited about sourdoughs. We asked about it, it’s free for children, but adult classes go at $150 for 3 hours, with a varying weekly theme.
3/4 Latte 3.5 | Masala Chai with Soy & Honey 4.5
Coffees are by Allpress Espresso, extracted from a La Marzocco machine. Damo had a 3/4 latte and did not mind it.
My soy chai latte, however, was wonderful. Perfectly sweet with a mellow, gentle spice that I found calming. I did not need to add extra honey.
We struggled a little with what to order. Being an artisan sourdough bakery, we wanted to sample their sourdough offerings, like the sandwiches on display here. But the other cooked offerings on the menu also looked great.
Mini Brioche 80¢
However, being the brioche fan that he is, Damo had to sample some of that. He thought the bun could be eggier, and would’ve enjoyed it better if there was butter on the side.
Poached Eggs, Smoked Trout, Parsley & Feta Salad on Sourdough Toast 14
But here’s Damo’s brunch proper. This combination here is a typical, well-balanced brunch dish that’s hard to fault. Damo really liked the sourdough bread and he thought the feta was very good. The only let down were the poached eggs, they were overcooked.
Croque Monsieur with Barkly Ham, Dijon Mustard & Gruyere 12
I nearly went with the warm croissant with melted Gruyere & Barkly grandmother ham, but decided to go sourdough as well by choosing the Croque Monsieur.
I thought this sandwich tasted standard, with a strong presence of butter. And I was expecting the Croque Monsieur to be covered with a blanket of grilled melted cheese. Instead, it’s more like just a ham and cheese sandwich.
I also learnt that, as fancy as its name is, Gruyère isn’t a particularly pungent or flavoursome cheese. Maybe what they used here wasn’t aged that long. Damo, however, thought the ingredients in the sandwich went very well with the sourdough.
We relaxed for a bit… read the papers, and chatted mindlessly before deciding that we had space for something sweet.
Sourdough Pancakes with Stewed Berries & Honeycomb Cream 14
That was the first time we’ve encountered pancakes made from sourdough. They were fantastic!
The pancakes had a marvellously elastic, resilient, non-cakey texture that somehow managed to stay thick and airy. They were like soft, springy crumpets. And they stayed true to having the flavour of sourdough, which surprisingly married well with the cleverly simple sweet accompaniments.
The berries were straightforward stewed berries, they weren’t messed around with. And the honeycomb cream was exactly what it is, a thick cream with delightful stick-to-your-teeth honeycomb chunks!
None of the components overpowered each other, this is probably Brasserie Bread’s secret weapon dish on its menu. Witness here, the pancake carnage!
Brasserie Bread excels at its sourdough breads and I see this place more as a bakery rather than a brunch café. All that said, it still has its hidden warehouse charm and, depending on mood, it can be a nice ‘change of scenery’ from the more classic brunch spots that Melbourne is rife with. And don’t forget the pancakes… aaaa… Sourdough Pancakes!!!
On a side note, I wanted to title this post “Brunch, The North-South Bread Waltz”. But thought better of it. Ha ha ha!