Food and Drink
Posted by Dan Kuseta
08. Dec, 2011
Despite being next to the city North Melbourne, still manages to somehow pull off a country town feel. The streets are wide and quiet, there are trees, an IGA and some good old fashioned pubs. And, like any self-respecting country town these days, there’s good food if you know where to look.
Twenty and Six Espresso opened last week, perched in the sweet spot, geographically and figuratively, between caffeine powerhouse Auction Rooms and the home-baked treats of Beatrix. It’s run by lovely couple Ned Rahmonovic and Majda Falan, who live upstairs and originally planned to use the space as a graphic design studio that served coffee on the side. But the more research the two did they more they realised they wanted a full blown cafe and voila, Twenty and Six was born (the name is a typographical reference originally slated for the studio).
Graphic design’s loss is the food lovers’s gain. The new space is bright and fun with a communal table, wacky glasses and and walls decorated by local artist Georgia Cranstoun, including a great sketch of Freddy Mercury. I like what they’ve done with the place.
I also like what they’ve done with the menu. Snappy and to the point, this slender volume contains breakfast options like homemade cranberry and nut granola with Shultz organic vanilla bean yoghurt and fresh summer berries ($8), and a selection of breads like quinoa and soy and sour cherry and vine fruit with lescure butter that can be jazzed up with rosehip jam, nutella, peanut butter and vegemite.
There are rotating specials of the day too, when I visit there’s the arrestingly named Hulk SMASH: smashed avocado, coriander, mint, hint of chili, Meredith goat’s fetta, ruby red grapefruit and two free range poached eggs on sourdough ($14).
They’ve also got a selection of baked goods like croissants and these decadent looking chocolate and salted caramel tarts from Brasserie Bread.
But the fun doesn’t stop there. Ned’s a coffee dude and is using Proud Mary beans for his espressos and pour over concoctions, with an iced coffee on the way. Majda’s a tea sort of gal and has assembled a serious list of teas including the ‘Iron Goddess of Mercy’ from Taiwan and Genmaicha Kakegawa Sencha from Japan. All teas come with suggested brewing times.
But for me the feather in Twenty and Six’s cap is their hot chocolate. They do two types, the Kali (as in the Hindu goddess of death) and the fancier Willie’s Single Origin, essentially pure cacao that’s freshly grated and melted through water.
It might be $6.90 a pop but this is basically like drinking a block of A-Grade chocolate, the sort of drink Willie Wonka would go wonkers for. I tried the Indonesian Black which had a bitter, complex character, almost like downing a shot of chocolate whiskey. It’s the most robust hot choc I’ve had for a long time, and gets bonus points for making me feel manly after finishing it, the litmus test so many beverages sadly fail.
With a new patio opening out back in the coming weeks, Twenty and Six is a fine place to enjoy a little bit of the country without leaving Dodge.
Twenty and Six Espresso
594 Queensbury Street, North Melbourne
Mon – Fri 7am – 4pm
Sat – Sun 8am – 5pm
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