Thursday, July 23, 2009

July 12, 2009: Dench Bakery

While we've sampled a few delicious skerricks from Dench Bakery while in Melbourne, we've only just made our first visit there for breakfast. The reason is simple - Dench's excellent reputation means that they're consistently packed out and even sold out of fun stuff. But when we set out a little earlier than usual on Sunday, we managed to snag a table outside without any dramas.

The menu is quite vegetarian-friendly (though probably not very vegan-friendly): it begins with a range of muffins and pastries ($5.50 each), progresses to fruit and cereal dishes ($9-10.50), then gets serious with eggy cooked breakfasts and a specials board ($9.50-15.50). In an unusual turn of events Mike and Jo also ordered meat-free meals, so we've got lots to show you!

Mike ordered the chive scrambled eggs on brioche ($10.50) with a side of sauteed mushrooms ($12.50). These eggs are like the ones that Bill Granger is famous for - probably more cream than egg at all! But they are undeniably rich and cloud-like. Meanwhile the mushrooms could be the best I've ever eaten at breakfast - the tell-tale trail of butter down the plate suggests why.

Michael chose a savoury option from the specials board, a Turkish breakfast of spicy lentils on buttered sourdough with poached eggs, dukkah and labne ($15.50). It was terrific, with the eggs poached to perfection and the lentils studded with diced vegetables.

I ventured to the sweet end of the specials board, which featured ricotta hotcakes with poached quince, marscapone and praline ($15.50). The pancakes were a little thick but the quince portion was generous and the sprinklings of candied nuts were spectacular. Our waiter brought out a bottle of maple syrup to slosh as I pleased, but I was happy to skip it - this has plenty of sweetness as is.

Jo landed the cinnamon French toast from the standard menu ($13) - as you can see, it comes with generous servings of poached fruit and toasted almonds. Unfortunately the egg batter didn't soak far into the dense bread, but Jo loved the huge helping of fruit and nuts.

The service throughout our visit was relaxed and friendly, and Michael reports that the coffee was great. We walked away with a danish, bombolini and multi-grain loaf for later and they proved to be outstanding; the bread in particular was outstandingly outstanding! Breakfasts cost a few dollars extra than we tend to pay elsewhere, but they're well worth it (their secret to deliciousness appears to be butter, cream and more butter). So don't hesitate to give Dench a go - if it's packed out, there's always the lovely North Island Cafe next door and next weekend to try again.

Address: 109 Scotchmer St, North Fitzroy
Ph: 9486 3554
Price: veg breakfasts $5.50-15.50


  1. oh I dream of breakfast at dench - can never resist a loaf of their lovely bread if I am in the area - those hotcakes look superb

  2. YUM!! I went there for breakfast the other day and enjoyed a shoo fly bun and a fantastic chai.. my friends really liked their eggs and almond croissant and pecan pie. But one of the specials was a breakfast crumble! Can't wait to go back.

  3. Sounds like they subscribe to the theory that butter makes everything better! :)

  4. Johanna, that multi-grain loaf has me completely won over by Dench!

    Cathy, I love pecan pie. Wish I could get there when (i) it's not sold out, and (ii) I have enough room to eat it. :-)

    Got it in one, Agnes. ;-)

  5. Might have to head down there for brekky.