Carolina | Lowlands


11 Nicholson St
Brunswick East, VIC 3057
03 1234 5678
Carolina on Urbanspoon

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I brisk-walked past this café, dismissing it as an old-school shoe shop, and thought that my iPhone’s GoogleMap had made a location boo-boo.

Well it turned out they had kept the old establishment’s frontage and window logo intact. The only indicator that I was at the right spot was that tiny stretch of scrabble pieces saying “C A R O L I N A” on the front door.

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I thought the café’s unmarked, hidden feel was so interesting. And then I sat down with Willem, who was already there, and nearly fell off my chair when he said “this place feels like hipster heaven but its more middle aged yuppies.”.

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Aaaah… I so love quoting the people that I eat out with…. =D

Carolina 05Piccolo | Strong latte

Cheeky remarks aside, they use beans from one of my preferred coffee roasters here, Seven Seeds. Both Willem and I liked our coffees, my chocolatey piccolo held a slightly leafy freshness in its crema.

Carolina 01Carolina 7426 House-smoked ocean trout, Kipfler potatoes & poached egg 16 with watercress, dill & housemade yoghurt-based dressing 

Willem chose the exact same dish that I wanted. Aaaa… jealous!

I listened with envy as he described how this dish had a muted, understated deliciousness. The trout had just the right amount of smoking to bring out the natural flavours, and the potatoes were cooked perfectly.

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What happened next was really adorable. I heard an ecstatic gasp come from Willem, he had just cut into the poached egg and the yolk was spilling forth. He then automatically spun his plate to face me so that I could take this shot of yolk porn action.

Carolina 7434Carolina 03Roquefort steak sandwich with caramelised onions & greens 15

On my side, I uhhhm and ahhhed for awhile before I settled on the steak sandwich. But whoa-my-gosh it was good!

I’m not too familiar with my cheeses, but I’m now a fan of Roquefort. It has a pungent flavour profile that’s reminiscent of Stilton. The sweet caramelised onions gave perfect counterpoint to the cheese.

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There you go… brunch satisfaction!

Carolina 07 Courtyard at the back

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Good conversation, good food, good coffees. Sometimes, everything falls into place so effortlessly. What a wonderful brunch session.


923 High St
Thornbury, VIC 3071
03 9480 1635
Lowlands on Urbanspoon

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I wanted this brunch diptych to be called “North & Norther”, since Lowlands is further away in Thornbury. Oh dear… me and my lame titles… =)

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This meal was a Tuesday brunch catch-up session with Ashley (you can read her version of events here). After a month of eating and travelling in Southeast Asia, she’s come back to cold cold Melbourne and its never-ending string of lovely cafés.

Lowlands 1Soy Chai served in a pot $4.50

The slumbery feel to this brunch spot on a Tuesday morning fits the mood of winter perfectly. And what better way for Ashley to restart the rhythm of Melbourne-living than with a chai latte?

Lowlands 7681Lowlands 2 Skinny Candyman Magic $3-50
Toasted Sourdough Sarmy (with haloumi, house made hommus and a tomato medley) $12-50

These days, I’m pairing food with drink in my collages. Three guesses who’s ordered the magic (double ristretto 3/4 flat white)? Ha ha… it’s Fakegf, of course, and she found it nice and robust. Coffees here are from Small Batch roasters, and this all-too-familiar Candyman houseblend imparts a slight grape acidity on my palate.

Fakegf’s brunch dish comprised of lovely, fresh heirloom tomatoes, moist hommus, and a gently milky haloumi. She found the dish a touch too ‘simple’ and wished they used sourdough rather than white bread.

Lowlands 3Two Baked Eggs (on creamy leek and fennel with apple cider chorizo) $16
Single Origin Burundi Kayanza Gatare Piccolo $4

My brunch choice came peppery and flavoursome because of the chorizo, and the leek gave a nice, mildly sweet counterpoint. I mostly enjoyed the combination except that the yolks were cooked through and, like Fakegf, I wished they served sourdough rather than white bread. The single origin piccolo I had with this meal satisfied. It was smooth and sweet.

Lowlands 4Lowlands 7638Two Poached Eggs with Grilled Corn Off The Cob $15
w/ smoky chorizo & lime and paprika mayo

I had a sample of Ashley’s corn and chorizo brunch dish and it was sweet and yummy! She said the paprika mayo had a good bite to it.

Lowlands 5Courtyard at the back

I’ve realised something. The sweet brunch dishes in Melbourne cafés are often more amazing than the sweet offerings that you get at many dinner places. At least for me, anyway. So in most cases, ending a brunch session with a shared sweet dish becomes almost imperative.

Lowlands 6Lowlands 7672 French Toast $15-50
with vanilla bean whipped ricotta, pistachios & sour cherry compote

And yeowza… this dish truly satisfied! Having sour cherries with candied pistachios and ricotta was a such a delightful combination. Better still, this dish wasn’t overly sweet at all, it wasn’t drowned in syrup. What an incredible way to end a brunch session!

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The discovery never ends. Here’s two quiet, understated places in the Northside with good coffees and delicious brunch fare. We are so lucky in Melbourne, just toss a stone at random and you’ll probably strike a good café!