As many of you know, I’m not a coffee-drinker. What’s even stranger in a coffee-town such as Melbourne is that many of my friends are not coffee-drinkers either! Which means that there is a bit of a hole in my reviewing repertoire.
Thankfully, my coffee-drinking friend M has returned from overseas and is a ready and willing eating (or drinking) buddy. Without her I probably wouldn’t have dared go into a place called ‘Third Wave Cafe‘ as no doubt coffee would be high on the agenda.
Third Wave Cafe is marked by a black and white style striped awning reminiscent of a Cote d’Azur beach umbrella. Inside there’s a communal table and several small tables but the decor is generally unremarkable. If it hadn’t come with a recommendation I probably wouldn’t have given it a second glance.
Their website makes the grandiose claim that it’s the best food and coffee in Melbourne or it’s free. I think that’s an extreme bit of puffery but what does makes this cafe less run-of-the-mill is that it’s owned by a Russian woman. This means that their menu incorporates breakfast dishes which are a departure from your usual eggs, muesli and toast (though these are still included in the menu for breakfast traditionalists). I was most excited to see sour creme pancakes and cream cheese blintzes on offer.
Coffee comes courtesy of Five Senses, with two different coffee blends and a third Single Origin option. M declared her latte excellent (she’s been living on a Carribean island for 4 years and dying for decent coffee) ($3.80). My chai latte ($4.30) was very foamy and milky and too light on the spice.
One of their recommended dishes from the page-and-a-half breakfast menu is the yoghurt breakfast parfait ($10.50). This is a conical glass layered with yoghurt, granola and berries which was so enormous that M was unable to finish it. Her only issue was that she wished the berries were fresh and not frozen but of course in winter berries are mostly out of season. I suspect it’s one of those dishes which looks like the healthy option (berries, cereal, yoghurt) but tastes too good to be completely good for you :–)
My cherry cheese blintzes ($14.50) were thin crepes with a cherry cream cheese filling accompanied by a cute little jar of blueberry jam for extra berry-ness. The crepes were pliable and not too doughy and the dish was sweet without being cloying, even when smeared liberallky with jam. A dish worth returning for.
As it was almost lunch time by the time we’d finished our brunch I thought it was acceptable to order a second breakfast. The menu declared the brekky muffin ($6) to be ‘the best people had ever tasted’ so with that accolade how could I not try it? A fluffy English muffin, almost like Turkish bread, sandwiched some lightly scrambled eggs, bacon and swiss cheese. A far cry from the version from the golden arches.
Third Wave Cafe is an unusual beast – a Russian-focused cafe in a beachy suburb. But in a way it fits right into Melbourne town for its focus on good food and great coffee.
Third Wave Cafe, 1/189 Rouse Street, Port Melbourne +61 3 9676 2399
Weekdays 7am-3:30pm; Weekends 8am-3:30pm