My stay-at-home-lots lifestyle has resulted in quite a drop in Melbourne food visits, meaning I’m quite out of sync with Melbourne’s food scene these days.

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On the upside, when I do visit a new and interesting place, it feels all the more special to me now as I relish in re-discovering unusual dishes and fascinating flavours.

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Fakegf and I decided to brunch here one afternoon, it’s a cafe that I knew served interesting charcoal tarts. It was quiet that Thursday morning and we loved the white and minimalistic interior with little surprise pops of colour from the odd painting, ornament and coloured stool.

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Piccolo 4 (Candy Man Blend)

We squished ourselves into a cosy little table and were served sparkling water. For drinks, I grabbed a coffee by Small Batch (from Auction Rooms fame) to help awaken my morning blurness a little bit more.

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Bacon, Scallop, Mushroom, Watercress & Taro Puree, Radish

The menu’s simple and very interesting. Curious as to how bacon and scallops can be paired, I picked this dish as my brunch choice.

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I’ll have to say it’s a dish that hit many high notes with me.

The tender and flavoursome bacon steak was hidden underneath that blanket of sliced radish, and it was topped with a sprinkle of dehydrated scallops… giving it a nice sweetness. The watercress and taro puree came as a smear at the edge of the plate which gave an interesting flavour counterpoint. I also liked the use of so much fresh vegetables as it balanced out the unctuousness of the fatty bacon nicely.

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Eggs Our Way, House Chilli Dressing, Shallots, Salted Shrimps and Thai Greens 

Fakegf’s brunch choice came as a very gently steamed (or sous vide?) egg pudding topped with chilli dressing and dried prawns. Its texture was about as soft as silken tofu with a slight sticky pull… she absolutely loved this dish.

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A shared serve of this came with our lightish mains. First, a piece of fresh wombok smeared with homemade curry paste, which we both thought tasted a little discordant from all the other things that were served that day.

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And a piece of popover each. Popovers are fluffy egg batter rolls that are quite similar to Yorkshire puddings, and it served as our carb component nicely.

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Of course we couldn’t have left this brunch spot with trying their famed charcoal tarts. I liked the way they revealed each day’s tart offerings by artfully arranging each tart’s ingredients on that white table.

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Lychee, Cheddar Cheese, Vegemite | Lemon, Lemongrass, Ginger

I savoured these tarts with Fatbee later that day. We both enjoyed the lemon, lemongrass & ginger tart… but the lychee, cheddar cheese & vegemite tart was a little bit too dissonant and adventurous for our liking though.

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I admired how thoughtful and interesting the brunch dishes were at Nora, making it a very memorable brunch session.

I can’t pinpoint the origin of inspiration whence the dishes came from, but if I were to hazard a guess, I’d say maybe it’s a mix of  Scandinavian thought, Japanese simplicity, Thai / Vietnamese punchiness and modern technique.

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