East Melbourne isn’t usually the part of town you look for hip cafe openings but just down from the Freemason’s hospital, Square and Compass is breaking the mould. Housed in an old brick building the cafe has a contemporary feel with a monochrome interior which opens out onto a sunny courtyard.
You’re in experienced hands at Square and Compass as the owners have links to top notch cafes Pillar of Salt in Richmond and Barry in Northcote. This hospo know-how is reflected in a menu that caters to all tastes ranging from five grain porridge ($12) to weird and wonderful combinations such as the crunchy peanut butter and tomatoes on toast ($13).
The menu says “trust us” on the peanut butter and tomatoes combo but I don’t (I’m annoying like that) and instead order the goats cheese omelette with hazelnuts ($16.50) instead. It’s a fluffy omelette, oozing melted cheese when you cut into it and I’m happy with my conservative ordering.
MTV orders one of Square and Compass’ slight twists on traditional dishes – the Eggs Benedict ($18). It comes with smoky kaiserfleisch rather than ham and a creamy hollondaise sauce with a slight kick thanks to the addition of apple cider vinegar. There’s also seven seeds coffee on order and sweet treats in the form of Doughboys doughnuts and cakes. I might just have to find my way to East Melbourne more often.
Details: Square and Compass, 222 Clarendon St, East Melbourne (Ph 03 9416 4914)
Kids: Welcome. There are high chairs and staff were accomodating to my 2.5 year old.