11 & 12 Manchester Unity Arcade, 220 Collins St
Guess what I’m doing right now! At the time of writing, I’m taking a break from filling a suitcase with summer clothes and bathers for my trip to Malaysia with the Pharmily (my flight leaves in approximately 12 hours, though by the time this gets posted I’ll have long since come back)! So this is going to be a short snappy post, rather suiting for the tiny hole-in-the-wall that is Switchboard Cafe.
Switchboard Cafe is literally the converted space of where the building’s switchboard used to be. It’s so small it barely has room for the whirring coffee machine, let alone the two people operating it, but somehow they manage. The only indoor seating they have is a Victorian-kitsch nook, which is dark, cramped and strangely endearing. We ended up eating with our plates propped up on (I hesitate to call them) tables half the size of a chess board, because it was too breezy in the breezeway out back. Who would’ve thought.
|Avocado and Fresh Lemon on Toast ($6.5)|
Simple is best, and my Avocado and Fresh Lemon on Toast ($6.5) was simple for all the right reasons. The tender slices of avocado were layered on top of the thick sourdough, garnished with a just-right amount of salt flakes, cracked pepper, and a squeeze of lemon. The bread was even buttered for an extra bit of decadence.
|Ham, Tomato, Relish and Scamorza Toastie ($8.5)|
Toasties are a breakfast staple that seems nigh-on-impossible to get right. I’ve yet to come across one that rivals the ham and cheese toastie Chris makes, but the Ham, Tomato, Relish and Scamorza Toastie($8.5) came pretty darn close. Crispy bread, oozy cheese, velvety ham, and sweet relish, this was a gourmet yet unpretentious twist on a traditional toastie. The other options on offer were even more tempting, with salami, green tomato, artichoke, and all sorts of interesting ingredients thrown into the mix, but as Chris had just finished his final exam for the year, he got to choose what he wanted to eat. For once.
Switchboard Cafe is a great little place to bring people if you want to impress them with your knowledge of Melbourne’s back alleys and hidden gems. The menu is hardly inspired but it’s well-constructed and tempting, and even has some great Aussie classics such a Vegemite and cheese on toast. Don’t wait until too late in the day though; I hear food runs out.
Rating: 13/20 – itty bitty living space.