So today I was able to amble down to the temporary cafe that Broadsheet have set up in Crossley Street as a part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. I’d been hearing about the cafe for quite a while, seeing as Jess is a Broadsheet intern, and I even scored an invite to the opening night party, which I sadly had to decline as I couldn’t get out of work that night. Boo-urns!
The cafe is set up in a long, thin shop, with some tables and seating up front (including a bench made out of a long piece of blond-coloured wood stacked on about a billion copies of Broadsheet), with the imposing Synesso coffee machine glowering at you from up the back. The black walls inform you, through the white writing scritched on them, that the sandwiches are provided by EARL Canteen, the pastries by Baker D Chirico, and the macarons by LuxBite. Heading up this pretty fine looking list of contributors are a rotating range of coffee providers: Seven Seeds, Proud Mary, Market Lane, Dead Man Espresso, The Premises and Five Senses.
The usual suspects had presented themselves in order to investigate this temporary cafe venture – Jess, Emma, Claire and Bennett. The others had already scarfed down some sandwiches and were engaged in coffee and gossip by the time I shambled up, and one simply cannot face juicy workplace gossip on an empty stomach, so I went and got an EARL sandwich to fortify myself. I never quite got the full lowdown on what exactly was in it, but from what I could make out there was a lovely fat seam of egg salad, complimented with vibrant green baby spinach leaves and some delicately soft braised mushrooms. Being that Broadsheet Cafe are getting these sandwiches delivered by EARL and keep them in a fridge until you eat them, the quality is slightly less than you would get from a made-to-order one at EARL itself (the bread in particular seems to toughen up significantly from the cold of the fridge), but if you’re too far away from EARL to comfortably visit on your lunch break, this is an acceptable alternative in sampling some EARL goodness.
I also overcame my general distaste for coffee and actually ordered one – hey, I figured with all these fab coffee folks around even an avowed tea drinker like me would have to enjoy it! Also, I don’t think they were even offering any tea.
The coffee on offer was today provided by Market Lane. My mocha was definitely stacked fiercely on the side of coffee rather than chocolate; not being used to such a strong coffee I fairly gasped from the shock. But it grew on me a little by the end of the cup – a very earthy, almost harsh blend, but with a mellowing aftertaste. Still, don’t think I’m going to become a regular coffee drinker any time soon!
A delivery person arrived through the doorway with a giant pallet of macarons. Given the fact that Jess, Claire, Emma and my heads all swung simultaneously in order to follow the macarons’ path, it was collectively decided that us girls were going to have to sample them. Preceded by a brief crazy rant on my behalf on the differences in pronunciation between ‘macaron’ and ‘macaroon’ (“I used to get so angry when I’d hear goddamn food industry professionals say ‘macaROON’ on Masterchef, I’d end up throwing things at the TV. MACARON, people, dear god, is it so hard?!”), we had delivered to our table three creme brulee flavoured beauties, and a watermelon one.
I ended donating half my macaron to Bennett, who had somehow missed out on ordering one and was resorting to being a giant mooch. Breaking it in half meant that I kind of mooshed all the texture out of it, but flavour-wise it was quite lovely. I was particularly pleased that you could discern vanilla bean flecks in the ganache. Emma’s watermelon one was gorgeous, with one half being red, the other green. I’m very intrigued as to how watermelon would translate in macaron form… I’m going to have to go back and try one, aren’t I?
So all in all, a very interesting operation and well worth a visit. Be quick, though; Broadsheet Cafe will only be operating until next Monday the 14th of March. After that, you’ll just have to visit all these cafe superstars separately!
24 Crossley Street, Melbourne CBD