23rd June 2016
497 Chapel Street
South Yarra, VIC 3141
Ever since I first heard of Jam Factory, I’ve always wondered: why on earth would you give a dumb-bum name like that to a shopping and entertainment complex? Turns out I’m actually the dumb-bum. The building first opened in 1858 as a brewery, but within twenty years had been bought out and converted to a literal jam factory, and it stayed that way until 1970. Thank you Wikipedia!
But these days, the local precinct of Jam Factory is so much more than just clothes and movies; there are also dozens of great restaurants and cafes. And if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice that after an intensive period of renovation, a former clothing store has since reopened to become the quaint and lovely Cafe Amba.
I had been awake for about 4 hours without having had a coffee, so this Skinny Flat White ($3.7) was just what I needed. Made from a Small Batch blend, this coffee was robust yet smooth – a perfect little pocket rocket.
Chris on the other hand had an Iced Chocolate ($6.5) by Mörk. This is definitely one of the better ones out there, the tall glass of milk dyed a rich, dark brown by the artisan chocolate, and a perfect balance of sweet and bitter.
Chris went for the Amba Breakfast ($18.5) – Amba’s version of the big breakfast. This was like an upgraded version of the traditional full English; instead of a greasy mess (though I do love a good breakfast fry-up), this plate of goodies was vibrant, fresh, and carefully plated up.
As a consummate carnivore, my favourite things on the plate were the salty rashers of bacon, and the juicy chipolatas. Still, I couldn’t help but enjoy the summery grilled tomato, and the buttery mushrooms. My only complaint was that the eggs were slightly over-poached, and felt a bit heavy as a result.
More often than not, the Smashed Avocado ($13.5) will be my go-to meal after a gym session. I proteined this one up with the additions of Bacon ($4) and a Poached Egg ($2.5), and frankly it was one of the better decisions I’ve made. The toast was piled high with fresh, creamy avocado, and studded with sweet grape tomatoes and musty feta. It was already good with a squeeze of lemon, but it was even better with the addition of salty bacon and a creamy yolk – the egg was perfectly poached this time around!
But wait, there’s more! We were also treated to the Ice Drip Coffee ($5, 60mL), which was light and full of citrus and chocolate notes…
… as well as a couple of cakes to go with it. The first one was a delicious Hazelnut Praline, decadently layered with cream, chocolate sponge, and of course, hazelnut praline.
The other was a tall Lemon Meringue, the pastry shell hiding a layer of bright lemon curd, which paired delectably with the fluffy clouds of sweet meringue.
Like the best brunch places in town, Cafe Amba boasts a beautiful dining space, complemented by fresh food and good coffee. But unlike the others, Cafe Amba is also conscientious about price without sacrificing quality – something that is rare and wonderful when it comes to brunch. With its accessible menu and affordable prices, it’s a great refuelling pit-stop after a day of shopping on Chapel Street.
Rating: 13/20 – simple does it.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.
Sweet and Sour Fork dined as a guest of Cafe Amba.