Brunch out south of the Yarra
Armadale. Leafy trees , designer wedding gowns and terrace houses. It is the Sunday that ends daylight savings and while I am grateful to have gained an hour in my day (wouldn’t it be nice if we had an additional hour every day?), I am mourning the official end of summer. Coin Laundry, is just the place to fret about shorter days and lower temperatures, and no, this is not a place to separate your whites from your colours while reading a cheap magazine, but rather a place where you come to unwind and share some time with family and friends.
Today I have a very experienced bruncher accompanying me and I am thrilled I can introduce her to this place (are you SURE we haven’t been here before?). We approach Coin Laundry at a record breaking 8.20 am, partially achieved due to gaining an hour and partially because our bodies are now programed on corporate time and this is usually the time when my body tells me it needs coffee. While the place still has a few free seats, it is unbelievable how busy it is at this time of the morning. The patrons at this hour are two distinct groups: middle aged couples with Ralph Lauren knits and Omega watches and young sleepy couples with (gorgeous) small children. There are also a few loyal locals enjoying their breakfast in solitude (if you are reading this blog and have never had brunch out on your own- it is time to do so! There is nothing more relaxing than sitting at a cafe on your own, reading the paper and watching as people pass you by. If you don’t have the guts to this at your home town then at least give this a chance on your next interstate work trip- it is liberating!). As the morning progresses, local yuppies roll themselves out of bed and arrive for their Sunday morning caffeine hit.
After standing at the door for about three minutes while staff walks by us a number of times, we are finally welcomed and seated at a large communal table, which we share with three other parties.There are a number of traditional tables around and three large wooden tables outside. The leafy street and quiet surroundings make this perfect for a family get together or a place to bring the dog after a long walk ( a golden retriever looks rather content at one of the outdoor tables). The decor is bright, full of flowers and decorated with laundry related retro-items.
The menu is really exciting and changes seasonally. It transforms usual boring dishes to gastronomic journeys. Flip Shelton’s 5-Grain porridge with fresh mixed berries, marble halva and Iranian fairy floss certainly catches my eye, as well as the French Omelette with fresh herbs, onion, roasted pepper, spinach and feta cheese served on brioche. After many deliberations I settle for the Smoked Salmon, Winter salad, walnut, toasted brioche and poached egg and my fellow bruncher goes for the Sweet corn Fritters with avocado puree, feta and chicory dressed with crème fraiche. Our drink orders are taken five minutes after being seated and the food order shortly after that.
The food arrives after about twenty minutes. It is by far the most beautifully presented food I have seen since starting this blog. It is almost too beautiful to eat and I cannot stop taking pictures. I have flavour bursting in my mouth with every bite. The salmon is not too salty and feels cured more than smoked. The winter salad is full of herbs, fennel, beetroot and a side of honey Dijon dressing. The Corn Fritters come in a serve of three. They are thick and don’t feel heavy or oily. The beetroot and fetta is just the right consistency to complement (and not overtake) the main dish.
Coffee is exceptional. I have seem people on my morning train carrying Coin Laundry take-away cups, and now that I have tasted the coffee, I will be very jealous of such people (Coin Laundry is conveniently located next to Armadale station).
As we are enjoying our meal we are actually asked to “shuffle down” and move seats so that a large party of five can enjoy the communal table. While this is done very politely, you cannot help but feel that this brand is well established and not at a stage where inconveniencing the customer would be reconsidered. As the place gets busier (with a line sprawling out the door), I can see how hard it would be to get noticed here later in the morning. However, considering the high quality of the food and coffee, we are both keen to return.
After breakfast, we take a walk around this glorious neighborhood. There is a real old-world charm around here, and the homes in the area will not disappoint the most prestigious architecture books. There is something very romantic around here, and as all kitschy – romantic things go, they are best shared with your best friends, making this the perfect end to a perfect morning.
Food: 9.5 out of 10
Service: 7.5 out of 10
Atmosphere: 8.5 out of 10
Best for: Early mornings, young parents, coffee with mum, brides-to-be.
Getting here: 61 Armadale St , Armadale 3143. Take a train to Armadale Station or the no 6 tram down High Street. There is plenty of parking around, usually unlimited on a Sunday.