33 Guilford Lane
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Now that I’ve finished with my Masters degree in clinical pharmacy, I’m free to be a lady of leisure until I start med school next year. And once I had realised that each semester in medical school is something like 17 weeks long (instead of the usual 13), I became extra intent on getting some hardcore relaxation in before I head off. Thus, Friday Dates (or FriDates) with K was born.
You may remember Rustical Sourdough and their amazing baked goods from a few years ago, when I visited their flagship store in Fitzroy. Well the plan today is to check out their CBD outpost, Rustica. Or as they’ve recently rebranded themselves, Brick Lane, in order to differentiate between the branch in the Rialto Towers.
The space Brick Lane occupies is humble, cosy, and quintessentially Melbourne. The rough brick exterior hides a scattering of comfortable tables, from which you can enjoy one of their cronuts, whilst taking in the ample amount of natural light and greenery. Located in a laneway down a laneway down a laneway, finding the cafe really does make you feel as if you’ve stumbled upon a hidden gem.
The coffee blend here is by Rumble Coffee, and my Skinny Flat White ($3.8) was smooth and well-rounded, if a little lacking in character. What I did discover after trying K’s regular flat white however, is that full cream milk makes for a significantly better coffee. I sense a change to my usual order coming…
I had a craving for avocado on toast, and given that K has never really had a good one, I was hoping to indoctrinate him with Brick Lane’s version of Smashed Avo ($17). Unfortunately, although satisfactory, this failed to wow. I thought that they were quite stingy with the avocado, and unless you came across a whole chunk of feta, the whole dish was also rather bland, without even a wedge of lemon to spice things up. It hit the spot, but I also felt as if I could’ve done something similar at home for a much cheaper price, even with avocados costing what they currently do.
K’s choice of Eggs Benedict with Pulled Pork ($19) fared a lot better. The pork was tender, and it was complemented by a crisp, herbal salad of fennel, and fluffy slices of pumpkin sourdough. My only gripe was that the hollandaise could’ve used more acid to counter the creaminess, and that the bread got quite soggy towards the end. Other than that however, it was a perfectly respectable eggs benny.
I have to admit, I was surprised at the high rating that Brick Lane (once again, formerly Rustica) has. I thought the food was quite run-of-the-mill, and I would’ve described the entire experience as ‘adequate’. Maybe it’s a holdover from back in the day, when brunch was less experimental and gourmet than it is now. At any rate, whilst there’s nothing wrong with Brick Lane, I would suggest spending your time and money somewhere else.
Rating: 12.5/20 – adequate.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.