When Maddox first opened on Sydney Road a couple of years ago, we made several pleasant visits for breakfast. It didn't really stand out from Brunswick's consistently excellent cafe culture, however, and we rapidly reverted to our home-ground favourite Wide Open Road. But towards the end of 2015 I started noticing favourable reviews of Maddox on other blogs, with photos showing fancier dishes. The Maddox team even emailed us early in the new year, inviting us back and promising good veg options and sweets. We elected to return anonymously and pay our own way.
The menu has had a complete overhaul (perhaps even two or three!). Like The Glass Den, they've taken on sleek but tiny symbols to denote their gluten free, vegetarian and vegan options. Breakfast standards have new accents, with roast strawberry buttermilk on the granola and chickpea chips among the mushrooms. Vegan dishes swap in new components like babaganoush instead of leaving an egg-shaped void on the plate.
Intrigued by the chickpea chips, Michael ordered the mushrooms ($17.90). They were sauteed and set upon a smear of babaganoush, scattered with spinach and feta, then topped with a poached egg. He enjoyed the savoury variety of this dish and didn't even seem to miss having toast.
While the black rice bircher sounded good, I was most excited to try the week's hotcakes special ($18). These little guys were stout and dense, flavoured and coloured with pandan, with a base that was caramelised and golden. On top? Coconut cream, makrut lime syrup, edible flowers and so many beautiful tropical fruits - dragonfruit, jackfruit, rambutan, lychees and, unexpectedly, a couple of crabapples. It was the best kind of over-the-top.
Michael got suckered in to the four-for-$12 cake special at the counter on the way out - he'd remembered the Maddox team proudly mentioning that they're all made in-house. They're a series of cute riffs on well-known treats (clockwise from top-left): salted caramel pecan brownie, a fudgy Golden Gaytime cake ball, a sour cherry and coconut wagon wheel and a peanut butter and jelly lamington. It took us three or four days to demolish them, and they were a delight from start to finish.
Maddox has certainly grown up in the long interval between our visits! Their foods have an extra flourish to them now, and these are consistently complementary additions rather than gimmicks (rest assured, it's a freakshake-free zone). It's definitely going back into our Brunswick brekky rotation.
You can also read about one, two of our previous visits to Maddox. There was a small flurry of Maddox posts much later at the end of 2015, with positive notes from hungry cookie, frenchtoastandindiepop and INLOVEWITHBRUNCH (partially sponsored); then a mixed account on Melbourne Vita.
295 Sydney Rd, Brunswick
meals, drinks, specials
Accessibility: Tables are closely packed but efforts have been made, including ramps replacing steps and a large unisex toilet with handrails. We ordered at our table and paid at a low-ish counter.