The long weekend is over all too quickly but what better way to kick it off than a visit to a new cafe? I discovered Twenty & Six Espresso thanks to my friend Magda who is job hunting at the moment so is an expert on Melbourne’s cafes. Twenty & Six has quickly become one of her favourites.
North Melbourne already has a wealth of great cafes but Twenty & Six is adding to the caffeine buzz. It’s tiny so the place gets jam packed on weekends but if you can make it there during the week Twenty & Six is a cosy and friendly spot to get your coffee fix.
Twenty & Six is a pretty minimalist space with one large communal table and some bench window seating. Light bulbs dangle from lengths of twisted copper and wall mounted wooden milk crates stacked with back issues of Frankie magazine complete the pared back look. But there’s nothing understated about the menu which goes above and beyond standard brunch offerings. There’s not an Eggs Benedict or omelette in sight.
Instead you can expect black sticky rice and cured salmon tartare. Perfect winter brunch fodder comes in the form of The Hunter ($18.90) where plump mushrooms are roasted in balsamic vinegar and red wine and served up with slices of meaty chorizo drizzled with truffle oil. A chunk of avocado is an optional extra for the gluten intolerant like Magda. I loved the pork belly bao ($16.90). The soft marshmallow like bun enveloped slices of slow roasted pork belly with a caramel kick from a five spice reduction. Crisp julienned vegetables and peanuts added some serious crunch.
Coffee here is by Proud Mary but try the hot chocolate ($4.50) for something a little bit different. It’s a Mork Hot Chocolate made with bitter dutched cocoa and coconut sap sugar which gives a distinctly grown up taste rather than being sugary sweet. A new chef at Twenty & Six means the menu is changing a the moment but the staff promise favourite dishes The Hunter, The Bao and The Russian are all staying. I’m hoping the changes only tweak Twenty & Six rather than changing it, because it’s pretty perfect as it is.
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