Three Bags Full is the latest addition to the industrial chic cafe scene that Melbourne does so well.
It comes with good credentials, as it’s run by the same husband-and-wife team (Sarah Foletta and Nathan Toleman) and their business partners Ben and Diamon, who are behind award-winning cafes APTE and Liar Liar. On the second day of opening the whole operation seemed to be running smoothly, with a steady stream of customers coming into the historic Denton Mills Hat Factory for breakfast – evidence that there’s always room for one more new white-washed warehouse eatery in Melbourne.
Settling down to one of the small tables and cheeky stools made from old street signs, I was handed a bright yellow menu with at least twenty breakfast items on offer. However, as soon as I saw the specials board I knew what I wanted – a sticky black ginger bread with roasted plums, marscapone and praline ($13.50).
While I waited for my breakfast, I took the time to inspect all of the different decorative touches. Quirky lino prints are hung up on the walls and available for sale. I counted at least six different styles of lighting, from naked bulbs to Moroccan inspired lantern cages to these custom-made upside down tea-and-saucer sets. I loved the bursts of yellow in the decor (in apt choice, as in colour psychology yellow is cheery, warm and stimulates the metabolism), the striped fabric of the banquette and the cute succulents growing in the narrow window boxes. Antique scales are used as display stands for business cards and cupcakes. The staff all wear heavy duty cotton aprons fringed with kimono fabric.
As for the food, my breakfast definitely had the wow factor. It was an unadulterated slab of cake, toasted, and slathered with a vibrantly hued plum compote sprinkled with crunch. It’s indulgent and certainly not a dish for those watching their waistline.
To compensate, for lunch I also took away a large filling tub of the daily-changing selection of salad ($10): orange and fennel; tuna and penne with fresh basil and parsley; and chargrilled eggplant with juicy roasted mushrooms.