Tuesday, March 17, 2009

March 14, 2009: Babble

There are two astounding things about dining in Melbourne compared with dining in our home town, Brisbane: the phenomenal number of vegetarian/vegan dining options and the baffling array of wonderful breakfast places. When you look back at all the great places we've lazed away weekend mornings, you'd think we'd be running short of options. Not so! Without even trying, Cindy threw together a list of nine different places that we could sample on Saturday morning. I was initially plotting a bike ride to APTE or Porgie and Mr Jones but our destination was shifted to Prahran (in a completely non-food related aside - Cindy and I both feel as though half the folks on Chapel Street are eyeing us up and wondering whether we need their spare change) thanks to other shopping needs (in another completely non-food-related aside, Andrew Isles natural history bookshop just off Greville Street is a fantastic place to find presents for nerdy outdoor types).

The Prahran option on Cindy's list was Babble and it was on Cindy's list thanks to Cathy at Everything Goes With Cream, who gave it a rave review a few weeks back. We stumbled in the door just as the heavens opened and dumped some much welcome rain. Luckily, we'd timed things perfectly and there was a table for two waiting invitingly for us.

The menu isn't particularly exciting - lots of fairly basic egg varieties (benedict, florentine, the one with salmon), a handful of omelettes and the usual toast/cereal/pancake options. The couple of exceptions were the two dishes that Cathy talked up on her blog: a vegetarian polenta-based breakfast and a luscious sounding French fruit toast. Despite Cathy's enthusiasm (and Cindy's pressure), I didn't feel up to polenta for breakfast, instead opting for the Baroness omelette, which promised spinach, fetta, sun-dried tomatoes, chilli and olives as fillings ($16).

I don't know why I order omelettes - there's always something a little disappointing about them. I think I'm so used to having my eggs poached that omeletty eggs just taste a bit dry to me. Anyway, this had all the makings of a fine breakfast - generous sprinklings of each of the fillings, a crispy well-cooked outer layer and some yummy toast tucked away underneath it all, but I was still a little let down. But I'm blaming my ordering, not the kitchen. On a brighter note - the coffee was top notch and I couldn't resist going back for seconds. What would I do without coffee? It's a serious question.

Anyway, on to Cindy's meal. She cleverly followed Cathy's advice and tucked into the French fruit toast, with mascarpone cream, banana, strawberries and maple syrup ($15). It lived up to the hype - I'm not sure why I've not experienced French toast made with fruit bread before, it's surely an idea whose time has come. This bread had delicious little chunks of dates and dried apricots, which just added to the riot of flavours going on with the rest of the dish. If it wasn't for the banana slathered all over it, I'd have been really jealous.

Babble is a nicely fitted out little place, tucked a bit back from the bustle of Chapel Street, but obviously well known to locals - by the time we were ready to head back out into the rain there was a queue building for spare tables. The crowd is a bit cooler than us, but the staff were friendly and helpful (contrary to some of the comments elsewhere), the space was pleasant and the food was decent if maybe a tad overpriced.

Address: 4 Izzet Street, Prahran
Ph: 9510 6464
Price: veg breakfasts $7-$16


  1. I feel like I am from a different tribe when I (thankfully rarely) go to Chapel Street ... please take me back to the north!

  2. I liked the staff too! Maybe they've got new staff since those other people went. Miss T, I also feel a little bit foreign in the south.. but you should see that polenta. Perhaps I will have to make another trip back - popping in to Amici for some fruit and nut bread on the way - to document this fine specimen further.

  3. I looooove the huge variety of vegetarian-ness in Melbourne. So exciting!

  4. It's obvious from this blog's Restaurant list what avowed northeners we are too, Miss T and Cathy, but the odd trip south of the river is a welcome novelty. :-)

    We certainly are lucky, Steph! I'm sure you're making the most of it while you're here. :-)