having discovered it’s a rather quick train ride from home for me, i’ve really been enjoying exploring the café scene in brunswick of late… there’s nothing quite like immersing yourself in the vibe and character of melbourne’s suburbs, and sydney road has to be one of the most iconic.
set right near jewell train station on union road, union street brewers is a small but open café on the ground floor of a fairly new apartment building. as such, the space is light and modern, with touches of wood introduced through the bench seating and tables. i particularly liked the use of fresh flowers and hanging pots to soften the space, and an open coffee bar-come–front counter and pastry display which draws you in. owner, ramez abdulnour also owns prospect espresso and drugstore espress, so there’s no surprise that they know what they’re doing.
coffee is served using rosso roasting co. instantly recognisable by the light blue packaging, this melbourne-owned and roasted coffee is smooth, vibrant and delicious.
brulee french toast with candied walnuts + berries
i always find with french toast that it’s important to get the liquid:bread ratio just right; and the use of the berry sauce on this one was just right. add to that the beautiful texture of the brioche which had been sugared and crisped up on the edges and this was delicious! the candied walnuts added some extra crunch but also some sweetness given the absence of maple syrup. presentation was elegant and very eye-catching. i would definitely add this to my list of top french toasts in melbourne.
chia seed pudding soaked in coconut milk with green apple, poached seasonal fruit + candied walnuts
move over poached-pear-topped-birchers… i have a feeling that chia puddings are going to be the summer dish of the 2015/16 season! which i’m totally cool with for a number of reasons: 1/ its healthy and light; 2/ i love the coconut flavours which usually come with it; and 3/ i’m hopeless at making this myself, so a good excuse to order more of it when i’m out! and it would seem brunswick cafes really know how to do a good chia pudding (see my post on lucy lockett). both pretty as a picture and tasty, this was a superb version – with crisp green apples, crunchy walnuts and the sweetness of the fresh strawberries. personally, lucy lockett’s chia pudding just wins out to this one due to the green apple sorbet – but really only by a smidge.
both visits to union st brewers i was there fairly early on a weekday morning, and whilst there were plenty of regulars popping in and out for their takeaway coffees, the tables were quiet and relaxing – a good space to open up the laptop and get some work done. however, being in the busy brunswick area, i could imagine the great vibe this place would have when full on a weekend too – especially on a sunny day with the great footpath dining. my service was lovely both visits – attentive and friendly.
however, it was my observation of how the wait staff assisted a visually impaired man on one my visits that brought a tear to my eye – bringing out a water bowl for his seeing-eye dog, talking him through the menu and being so genuinely helpful. i’m a total softy i know… but that kind of assistance really speaks volumes to me about respect and valuing every customer. amazing food aside, union st brewers you get a huge tick of approval from me just for that!
verdict: genuine customer service, delicious coffee and a crème brulee french toast.. what’s not to love?!