11 June, 2007


117 Lygon St, Brunswick East; 03 9380 4430

How does Brunswick do it? How does it support so many cafes, both established and burgeoning? And not just support, but keep them truly rocking and customers waiting for tables. True, my first visit to recently opened Gingerlee was on a public holiday, but within a couple of blocks Small Block and Poached were similarly rammed.

Gingerlee has recently taken over an old motorcycle shop on the corner of Lygon and Edward Sts. It’s your usual rectangle cafĂ© fit out– cake display, till, and coffee machine to your left; tables against large, sunny windows to your right, and a requisite corner of bench seats at the back. Concrete floors, minimalist tones.

They have avoided typical on the menu though, which clearly shows someone had a think about what they could offer that would be slightly different – a critical approach as Brunswick proceeds towards what surely one day (maybe years off yet) must become a saturation point for coffee and brunch. Gingerlee has a Moroccan inspired menu, offering separate breakfast and brunch menus. Interesting options included Syrian French Toast, with orange blossom, honey labne, rhubarb and pistachios. Brunch included diverse options such as a goulash, confit of duck, and tuna linguine.

Some of the more individual items, such as the breakfast tagine, were a little above the price I’d like to pay for breakfast, knowing what competition is around. I was surprised too that they are charging 20c extra for skinny milk in coffee. The coffee, however, (I ordered full cream – I’ll take the fat and keep my 20c!) was excellent. They’re using only fair trade, organic coffee, and this latte had a thick crema, and that wonderful bitter but smooth taste that shows it has been made with care.


  1. Visited here quite a while ago, food was pretty good but was refused extras on the breakfast. Thought that was a little odd and not really very smart considering the competition over the road. Haven't been back, but the french toast looks very appealing...


  2. Hey Food Tripper. They do have a note on their menu saying 'no alterations to breakfast dishes'. I understand that from a kitchen's perspective but it's always a little offputting for the diner.

    I did pop in there once to look at the menu cos I wanted to take a non-meat, non-dairy friend there and they said they could be pretty flexible on dishes, which I thought was interesting given the menu note...