03 December, 2008

Cafeklatsch: A Minor Place III, El Mirage, Aix Creperie

Aix Creperie: 24 Centre Place, Melbourne; 03 9662 2667A Minor Place: 103 Albion St, Brunswick East; 03 9384 3131El Mirage: 349 Lygon St, Brunswick East; 03 9388 0966

Centre Place could be Melbourne's Diagon Alley. It's narrow, bustling, and for folk stopping for coffee before scurrying to school/work/shopping, there's a certain amount of alchemy going on in those kitchens.

At the lane's northern end lies one of its oldest inhabitants: Aix Creperie. Grab an elusive seat in this shoebox and take your pick: believe you're writing a novel in Paris, contemplating love and bullfights in Barcelona, or learning the language in Rome.

An exhaustive list of crepes, both sweet and savoury, are prepared efficiently by a practised hand. The dough is spot-on: it can hold a hefty filling, but is far lighter than bread. A folded triangle of salami, gooey goats cheese, olives and tomato was a perfect between-shops pick-me-up.
Inevitably, the cafe road leads to Brunswick East. A Minor Place continues to prove that surly service is no barrier for the hordes that flock there for great coffee, good cafe fare and, recently, the odd glass of wine and tapas.

A sunny mid-week afternoon brought us to their milk crates for a bagel with poached egg, bacon, rocket, and salty relish;and some fine-looking pancakes with pear and walnuts.
Back on Lygon St, we hit upon a rare quiet weekend lunch at El Mirage. Their menu does a fine job of mixing up lunch and breakfast to suit your cravings any time of the day. Onion-flecked rosti with feta and slightly piquant tomato relish were lifted by the dots of cheese among the potatoes. Chicken croquettes with saffron aioli were just awesome. Fulsome, flavoursome and fabulous.

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