Seven Seeds

106 Berkeley St, Carlton
Phone: 9347 8664
www.sevenseeds.com.au

I’m not really much of a coffee drinker. I’m that loser who gets sneered at by coffee nazis for having two sugars and soy milk in his latte. Yeah, I know, I may as well be drinking decaf, I’m that derivative. So while I’ve heard nothing but good things about Seven Seeds, I haven’t exactly rushed out to try their coffee. But I did finally get around to it last week.


First off, I have to say I really like the decor – the fit-out is a nice mix of post-industrial chic, with just enough wood and use of textiles, so the airy warehouse space doesn’t feel too cold or severe. The warm lighting helps, too. As did the cheery smiles of the waitresses on the day. Definite thumbs up for service here.

My lunch companion, Mr A, is something of a coffee addict, though by his own admission, he prefers his coffee “like a two-by-four across the back of the head”. He opted for a flat white. Being curious of the hype, I thought I’d finally give the Clover coffee a try. Mr A tried to explain to me how the Clover machine works – something about a vacuum and the coffee being dipped, then extracted… it was all a bit too technical for me.

Anyway, it comes out in a cute little flask-coffee-pot, and you pour it yourself, like you would a cup of tea. I tried a sip of it without adding sugar, and to my surprise, found that I didn’t really feel the need! Clover coffee, to me, seems much less intense in flavour, and I can understand what all those afficionados mean when they go on about the various hints and notes of different flavours in the coffee. Like wine. The other great benefit of this Clover coffee, as I was to discover as the afternoon wore on, was that I didn’t experience the manic buzz nor the headachey, heart-palpitating lows which normally forms the rollercoaster ride I go on after drinking a coffee. I felt mildly more alert, so some of the caffeine is definitely there, but I guess the pharmacokinetics are different.

Along with my coffee, I had the avocado mash with grilled haloumi and dukkah on toasted sourdough. Topped with rocket, the whole thing was a winner for me. The saltiness of the haloumi was offset by the creamy avocado and the acid of the lemon wedge supplied for squeezing. I wouldn’t have minded a touch more dukkah, but I’m just being picky now.

Mr A had the special pressed sandwich, with an omelette, cheddar cheese, tomato chutney and spinach. He seemed quite satisfied by his choice. It certainly looked appetising.

I was feeling a little cheeky, so I took a chocolate brownie back to my office for afternoon tea. It was lusciously moist, and I had to do a lot of finger-licking to get all the icing off my hands.

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Foxy Brown

31 South Crescent, Northcote
Phone: 9481 4454
www.foxybrown.com.au

Tucked away in the backstreets of Westgarth along the Hurstbridge train line, is this little house-cum-cafe, which has on-and-off been a local institution for at least a decade. I met up with some friends here for brunch a while ago – one of them used to work there in an earlier, hippier incarnation, years and years ago. The current owners have been there a little over six months, and it’s certainly no hippie affair now, though the vibe and the service is certainly still warm and friendly.

Ms B and Ms L both decided to have the ‘Simply Foxy’ – a poached egg with avocado, tomato and Mungali Creek Feta on sourdough. Both enjoyed it immensely, though I’d have to say the combination of elements seemed a little on the dry side for me. In my mind, sourdough toast often needs a lot of lubricating.

Mr T – who I’m sure will appreciate that his name is shortened such, despite his lack of chunky jewellery – opted for the scrambled eggs, with a side of slow-cooked baked beans. I’m not a huge fan of baked beans, but on a brisk morning, they looked and smelled very inviting.

I had the ‘Sun’s Secret’, roasted tempeh and a fried egg on Crumb’s pumpkin sourdough with paprika relish, tahini and a squeeze of fresh lemon. Unfortunately, the tempeh was roasted a bit too much, rendering it dry and crunchy rather than soft and bean-like. Possibly bigger chunks would have been a good idea. Thankfully the paprika relish and tahini softened the dish.

I don’t usually have coffee, but it was a big day, so I did for once. Like many new cafes, Foxy Brown seems to be quite serious about its coffee (in fact, the full name of the place is Foxy Brown Espresso) offering single origin coffee with unhomogenised milk, and for those of you who know, or need to know – I personally have no idea – it’s made on a Synchro espresso machine.

All in all, it’s a pleasant place for brunch, though overall, I think the food was a little on the dry side. More sauces – or butter – please!

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