Melbourne opens trendy brunch places faster than anybody can possibly keep up with, so it's taken us a good 18 months to check out the 'new' hotspot on Queensberry Street: Twenty & Six Espresso. It's super trendy, very popular and pretty small, so I was kind of expecting that we'd turn up to find a queue and settle for a return visit to Elceed. Lucky for us, there were a couple of spare seats at the front bench, which we gleefully snagged.
This left us facing the road, meaning we didn't get to appreciate the designer stylings of the fit-out (the people who run Twenty & Six are big on design). We did get to appreciate the menu, which stands out a bit from the usual set of brunch options offered around town, although most of the savoury dishes aren't veg-friendly. There's a muesli, a banana, pecan and rum-soaked raisin loaf and some egg soldiers, along with two vegan dishes, which Cindy and I decided to sample.
She couldn't resist the Balinese black sticky rice (with fresh banana slices, salted coconut cream, palm sugar and passionfruit pulp, $15.90).
You've got to hand it to the Twenty & Six peeps - they know how to plate up a dish. As well as looking gorgeous this tasted fantastic, with the salt in the coconut milk adding just the right contrasting note to the sweetness of everything else.
I'd been a bit unwell, so jumped at the chance to have a healthier than usual brekkie with the Tokyo Salad (soba noodles, roquette, daikon, shoots, pickled ginger, spring onion and marinated tofu, $17.90).
This was almost exactly what I needed - a massive bowl of noodles and veggies, dotted with really excellent tofu chunks. My only problem was the pickled ginger - at the start it seemed like a brilliant addition to the dish but there was so much of it that it got a bit tiresome by the end. It looked beautiful though (which I suspect may be at least half the point). Still, that's a minor quibble with what was a filling, healthy and delicious meal.
Twenty & Six do a nice line in slightly fancy, beautifully presented brunches - the staff are friendly, the cafe stylish and the coffee (I'm told, I wasn't feeling up to coffee) excellent. It's got fierce competition from Elceed next door, but they seem to be doing a roaring trade and we were impressed to find yet another slick breakfast place with good vegan options on offer.
There's plenty of blog loving for Twenty & Six - check out Yellow Eggs (twice), Laugh as much as you breathe and love as long as you live, prisca and the pea, bonita caidy, Petit Miamx, Hook turn city guide, Dine with me, Kish and Co, The Chronicles of Ms I-Hua & The Boy, No Time like the Present, Life in suspension, A Miniature Take on Food, CarT, grazing panda, new international students, The Glutton and the Lush, Two Spoons and a Fork, Coffee Cherries, And Lashings of Ginger Beer, accidental encounters, obbiz's diary, p-alate, dining nirvana, chillipadi's kitchen, Edible Posts, Sharking for chips and drinks, tirache, dear melbourne, Let's Get Fat Together, she's leaving home, melbournechaitimes, Rumbly in my Tumbly, Judging Your Breakfast, Gagwood Blog (twice), Look, See, Food, A Food Trail, Popcorn & Toast, roseanntangrs and The World Loves Melbourne.
johnsonskitchen loved the style of the place, but wasn't sold on the food, while secretemple found the whole experience a bit underwhelming.
Twenty & Six Expresso
594 Queensberry St, North Melbourne
veggie meals $9.90-$17.90
Accessibility: There's a small step on entry (although there are also some outdoor tables). The interior is pretty cosy and the toilets are out the back via the courtyard (which we didn't explore). We ordered at the table and paid at a low counter up the front.