Food and Drink
Posted by Dan Kuseta
24. Mar, 2011
The other weekend I found myself at the top end of Bourke Street when the need to eat grabbed me. The problem was it was 8am, The European was packed and that end of town isn’t known for it’s breakfast options. Slinking past The Mess Hall I happily discovered they serve a full breakfast. Used to hearty meals and a few bottles of plonk late at night this Italian restaurant, I was curious to see if the kitchen could pull off both ends of the culinary spectrum.
Taking a seat outside in the crisp morning sun I’m presented with a small but pointed menu covering the usual suspects (sourdough toast, homemade muesli, seasonal fruit) plus some interesting options like Sicilian Beans and Semolina Porridge.
Coffee arrives quickly and, as you’d hope from an Italian joint worth it’s chops, it hits the sweet spot. My dining partner in crime has gone for the Corn Fritters with avocado, cream cheese and a side of bacon ($14.50+$3). Four thick fritters arrive, arranged like a mini leaning tower over the avocado and salad. The crackling hot bacon occupies the rest of the plate. It’s bloody huge. The fritters are definitely corny (in a good way), almost over-cooked and crispy, which I prefer to gluggy. The avocado is fleshy and soft, the bacon honest.
The Sicilian Beans ($10.50) continue the ‘big is beautiful’ theme. Two thick slices of sourdough are smothered in a ladle’s worth of home-made beans crumbled with feta. The rich tomato base sings with herbs, perhaps some red wine and makes me vow to start making my own beans at home. The feta melts into the beans and adds nice a creamy, salty shot to the meal.
Not too fancy but committed to doing a few things really well, The Mess Hall does breakfast like it does dinner – hearty, filling and just like mama used to make (but maybe a little better.) Recommended at any hour.
The Mess Hall
51 Bourke St, Melbourne 3000
Mon – Fri 7.30am – 10.00pm
Sat – Sun 8.00am – 10.00pm