While the demise of the neighbourhood milk bar is a sad testament of our time of mega-malls and supermarket duopolies, the silver lining is that Melburnians have managed to transform the humble corner store into some fantastic cafes, including Mitte, Squirrel Cafe and my latest find, Red Door Corner Store.
The owner/chef has retained some of the old-fashioned shop signage and the interior coffee and serving bench is reminiscent of the old shop of yore, when you’d be served by girls in beribboned aprons and mop caps reaching for the back shelves for your essentials. And given the cafe’s name of course the predominant colour scheme is a bright, cheery red. I love the red medicine cabinet-cum-cake cabinet in particular!
The cafe serves all day breakfast and lunch, 7 days a week, and on a weekday afternoon there was already a contest for the outside pavement seats by the locals (there’s also a leafy back courtyard which was under renovations on my visit). M and I grabbed the last, miniature, wobbly table and perused the off-the-beaten-track breakfast menu with a focus on seasonal, free-range and local produce. If you flip to the back there’s a section entitled ‘We Love’ where they give credit to their producers – a nice touch.
To the food! I decided to go the route of the 2-course breakfast and started with house-cured black cod, spicy cannellini beans, chorizo, poached egg ($17.50). A hearty combination of flavours only dampened by the fish lacking some punch in flavour to compete with the spicy beans and chorizo.
There was at least a couple of sweet breakfast options I could have devoured but decided on banana bread, whipped orange ricotta, oven-roasted stone fruit, cinnamon and hazelnut dukkah ($15). This dessert-masquerading-as-breakfast dish is amazing! Sweet, sticky, crunchy, creamy, all at once. It’s also extremely filling (although that may have just been after eating fish, beans, sausage and egg 2o minutes before).
The coffee comes from Maling Room and I highly recommend the iced Calmer Sutra chai latte ($4.50).
There’s a lot to love about cosy, delicious Red Door Corner Store. It’s so good that locals have asked that I keep it secret – but good things should be shared, no?
Red Door Corner Store, 70 Mitchell St, Northcote +61 3 9489 8040
Mon to Fri 7:00 am – 4:00 pm
Sat to Sun 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
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