I am going to be completely rubbished by Julian for this, but it is always best to admit to one’s shortcomings. So at the close of our visit to South Melbourne’s The Left-Handed Chef, I ended up peering at the menu taped to the front window for an inordinately long time, until he asked me what the hell I was doing. “I’m memorising what we ate so I can write about it for the food blog.” “Are you sure you don’t want to, I don’t know, write it down?” “Oh no, I have a really good memory for these things, I’ll be fine.”
Julian looked skeptical, as it turned out he had every right to be, as since I’ve finally came around to blogging about The Left-Handed Chef nearly a month after our visit (I know I know, I’m TERRIBLE), while I can distinctly remember everything that I had eaten, in a case of sheer food narcissism I only have vague recollections of what Julian ate. I know it was called something akin to a Big Breakfast Plate, there was bacon and eggs (maybe scrambled?), maybe tomato, maybe some kind of sausage? I really don’t know. So I am sorry, internet, my hubris means I have failed you once again.
I do however remember very clearly my meal and all the other impressions gleaned from our visit to The Left-Handed Chef, a little bakery and cafe that hangs out on Park Street. I’d been keen to visit on finding out that all the bread products used are baked on premises each morning, because why wouldn’t you be excited by fresh bread? BREAD IS LIFE (even if yeast does make my insides a little sad these days).
The set up is quite endearing, and old school in that several new wave cafe trends have clearly passed the Chef by. No little bowls of fancy salt will you find on your table, no unrefined cane sugar – the sweet stuff is bleached white and still comes in sachet packets. But the food that comes out on the plate is hearty and packs quite a tasty punch.
I went with The Green Breakfast – freshly baked wholemeal bread spread with smashed peas, two perfectly poached eggs with generously gooey yolks, and grilled stalks of tender asparagus. First of all, SMASHED PEAS. Why isn’t everyone doing this? It would relieve the fatigue of far too many smashed avocados around town. And these peas were sweet and not at all mushy, it was unexpected spring on bread. And speaking of bread, ooooh it was good, fresh and crusty and not at all lacking for not being the cafe standard of sourdough. Cracking the perfectly gooey orange yolks over the bread and loading it up with a bite of asparagus, goodness, it was just what the doctor ordered.
In terms of coffee, I actually do remember Julian saying that he felt his latte was a bit weak, and not terribly to his tastes. I did however how a lovely pot of English Breakfast tea, all woolen cosy-ed up, that was remarkably strong and multi-note flavoured considering it actually came from a teabag (although I’m often not as fussy about teabags if the end result is nice and robust).
The Left-Handed Chef may not be as slick as we’ve become accustomed to in Melbourne, but on the plate it gets everything that really counts right.
The Left-Handed Chef
Shop 2, 219 Park Street, South Melbourne
Ph: 9645 5800