I had a wonderful late breakfast this afternoon (eep!) at Market Lane cafe, Melbourne's newest coffee temple in Prahran market. It was supposed to be a quick bite and sip before food shopping, but we ran into Claire, and so ended up having a nice chat whilst enjoying the coffees. How did I know I'd run into another food blogger there?
Shop 13 Prahran Market
163 Commercial Road
South Yarra VIC 3141
Market Lane Coffee is located in the corner of Prahran Market where an organic grocery shop used to be. It's on the Elizabeth street side, near Aldi and Fuji mart. Or for those of you who are less gourmet-inclined, it's on the side street where the Chapel street KFC is.
It is run (and owned?) by Fleur Studd, she who loves coffee like Will Studd loves cheese. There are a lot of nice touches that give you a sense that they really care about their cafe and their product.
For example, each table had a jar of Costa Rican Rapadura sugar. It was medium-dark in colour, and softly granular, quite like light muscovado sugar. I don't take sugar in my coffee, but I could definitely handle some of the rapadura!
Loved the chalkboard describing the milk. I didn't get a picture of the milk fridge, but it seemed to be the same yellow and black-labelled brand as the unpasteurised "bath milk" that I have bought at farmers' markets. *Wink wink*.
Oh oops, I only just noticed that there's a guy standing under the "pick up here" sign. A coincidence, I assure you!
My coffee of choice was the Brazillian Cachoeira de Grama, done in the pour over style, for $3.50. This means it's hand brewed using what looks like a ceramic version of a paper-coffee filter, and "is the gentlest way to brew coffee", providing "good clarity of flavour".
The coffees we ordered came with cute postcard-sized tasting notes, with information on the beans, the production and the farms. I told you the guys here really care about their coffee!
I'm not very good at picking out individual flavours in coffee, but the tasting notes said it was creamy and sweet, with a soft orange acidity and notes of milk chocolate, cocoa and toasted hazelnuts. To be honest, I was enjoying the coffee so much that I was halfway through it before I thought to look at the notes and compare it to the actual taste.
Claire had a Costa Rican Geisha coffee (pourover), whilst Barbara had a La Pira (cup of excellence), done in Clover style.
Action shot! I thought the jug and cup were very cute.
What I really enjoy about pourover coffee (or Clover or Siphon, for that matter), is that you get a consistenly good cup of black coffee, without the harsh bitterness of espresso, or the muddiness that you can get with plunger.
At home I officially ditched the plunger a few weeks ago, and bought a very daggy drip coffee machine, beloved by American housewives and only $20 from Target! It's, obviously, a different league from the pourovers and the clovers, but it is easy to use and makes a consistent, clear-tasting cup.
Of course, Market Lane do normal espressi as well.
Cafe Latte - $3.80
Sandra said it was very, very strong. A good dose of rapadura sugar and extra steamed milk was required to adjust it to her taste.
The food menu is very limited, but of good quality - just a few pastries on offer, and bread and jam.
A very lemony, moist and fluffy blueberry friand. I don't remember the exact price, but I'm gonna assume it was about $4.
I was after a proper breakfast, and was very tempted by the baguette, served with jam and Lescure butter. From memory it was $4.50??
Breakfast of Champions - baguette, jam and Lescure butter
Everything about this breakfast was proper. The baguette was crusty and chewy, requiring real effort to chomp down on it; the jam tasted of real fruit and wasn't overly sweet; and the butter was, well, wow. It's a good thing they only provided those 2 thin slices, because otherwise serious artery damage could (and would!) have occurred.
I don't hang out at Prahran market a lot any more, but now I'm really thinking that I should!