Sunday, July 31, 2011

Eat. @ Auction Rooms

107 Errol St, North Melbourne 3051 ph : (03) 93267749

Auction Rooms was recently named the best cafe in The Age Good Food Guide Awards.  Housed in the old WB Ellis Auction House, it is the epitome of Melbourne cafe culture coolness - old style renovated building, slick fit outs, great coffee, interesting brekkie and lunch menus, mix of communal and small group dining, cool clientele and young, hip staff.  Added to the mix is that it's known as being kid-friendly, we were very keen to come and experience the hype ourselves!

Macaron Monster, in a rare instance, chose to have a babycino today.  (Usual drink of choice being juice or hot chocolate when we're out!)   A standard little drink, no marshmallows or fuss, and quickly enjoyed with a milk moustache.  It was attacked before I could pick up the camera!

I went for my usual mocha, and I'm glad to say it lived up to its reputation!  Oh so smooth, and a great balance between great quality coffee and sweet chocolate.  And of course there's the delicate coffee art.

We shared a Beer Braised and Seared Pork Belly, served with Smoky Baked Beans and House-Made Cornbread. 2 Indulgent slices of pork belly were delicious (but gasp, I left out most of the fatty bits - still a few post-baby kilos to go!).  The Baked Beans were a good mix and provided the "healthy" balance in the meal.  The Cornbread was the winner for Macaron Monster.  This was devoured with a good serving of the beans and I had to be quick to grab a bite.  I preferred the bit that wasn't soaked in the baked beans sauce, but otherwise fantastic taste and great texture.

Cornbread hiding behind greenery, sorry!

The menu is very adaptable for little kids.  The breakfast choices included poached eggs at $8.50 with which you can add a host of extras at a cost.  Lunch offerings included stews and flatbreads and salads.  I gave a chuckle at "La Fin de Elvis Presley" which is French toast filled with caramelised banana and rum puree and creamed peanut butter, served with crispy pancetta and vanilla cream. Love, love, love cleverly named dishes with a nod to obscure trivia.  (I would love to come up with names like those as a new career choice!!!)

I tweeted this instagram pic when I was there!
(look at me, all grown up and learning to use social media ;P )

The atmosphere of the cafe was casual, the air filled with the buzz of conversation, the smell of the food being cooked, the happy laugh and chatter of the staff, and the opening and closing of the doors for coffee take-aways.  Great, as this always makes me less self conscious if one of my kids should momentarily make a noise! 

In amongst the newspapers we found a pencil case full of color pencils and a notebook well loved by its patrons for Macaron Monster who was delighted to add to the art.

We were seated at the end of a large communal table, and unfortunately this was the low light of our visit.  The stools at the table were like elevated bar stools and Macaron Monster (rightly so) was too scared to climb up and sit on it.  Hip Young Waiter Dude had brought an Ikea highchair for Bubs in Pram.  When I asked for another for MM he told me MM was too big for it.  I told him we have the same highchair and MM has no problems fitting, but had to insist on it a few times before he reluctantly grabbed one from the back for me.  MM jumped right in and it was a much safer choice.  At the time I felt a bit funny having push for the high chair.  But taking into account that Young Waiter Dude probably has no children yet,  rather than insisting on a high chair maybe I should have insisted on being seated at one of the many other smaller tables with chairs at normal height instead.

If you have a pram make sure you enter through the door on the right as you're standing facing the cafe - there are no steps there.  A lesson learnt after negotiating my double pram into the door on the left and then requiring help to go down the steps to access the communal table I was directed to sit at.

Eat.Play.Shop.Recommends - Mmmm, the coffee!  Many choices, and house-roasted.
Give it a Miss - during peak hours on weekends.  Due to its recent buzz I've been told there are waits at those times and that's not much fun if the kids aren't patient!

Auction Rooms on Urbanspoon

Toilets - Yes
Highchair - Yes, Ikea type

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