There's a new cafe just opened on the corner of Elgin and Cardigan Streets, just a block or so from the University of Melbourne. For a few months we've been observing the shopfront; initially a messy and musty room, then introducing itself with a neatly stencilled sign reading What About Food, now finally revealing a fit-out and menu in the style of the northside's best brunch spots.
The menu is well suited to our tastes - almost entirely vegetarian (though not particularly vegan-friendly). It starts with a variety of mueslis and porridge, each matched with fruit, moves on to a breakfast fruit crumble with mascarpone before hitting Michael's kind of territory - home made baked beans, poached eggs, chickpea bake and an avocado bruschetta. For the more lunch-minded there's also a pasta of the day, soup, frittata and pizza.
Michael gave the home made baked beans with feta and poached eggs on sourdough rye ($12.50). It was a fine plateful and a very decent price.
I chose the goats cheese and caramelised onion tart from the heated display case (~$8). This storage tactic meant that the tart's texture wasn't at its best - a little crusty and dry on top - but the flavour was spot on, rich with a little sharpness.
Of course all that inspecting of the display case meant I knew what was on offer for dessert, so I followed it up with this brownie (~$4). As you can see, it was heavy duty stuff; super-dense and not at all cakey.
Service was friendly but was a bit confused - hopefully they'll hit their stride soon. While the food isn't an instant rival to inner north greats such as Min Lokal, Minor Place and Fandango, the menu shows a lot of promise and the prices are reasonable. I think What About Food has a fighting chance at attracting a loyal following of locals and uni-goers. We'll certainly be back for breakfast very soon.
Edit 28/07/11: What About Food has changed hands and is now 330 Briks.
Address: 330 Cardigan St, Carlton
Phone: 9347 5256
Price: veg breakfasts and lunches $4.50-$15