Maillard Toast and Espresso Bar
Time Out says
The toast specialists at this North Fitzroy café aren’t the first to hit town, but they might just be the most adventurous
Toast isn’t just one of life’s great comfort foods – it’s one of life’s great comforts, full stop. Whether it’s the fluffiest of white high tops or the seediest of sourdoughs, when bread is exposed to radiant heat and anointed with butter, something magical happens. In fact, this process has a name – the Maillard reaction – occurring when heat turns food a delicious brown. Like Richmond’s Crompton Coffee, which opened less than a year ago, this petite new café capitalises on this alchemy and hoists toast to new heights.
Petite, we said. Just big enough to accommodate nine lucky munchers – and definitely no room for cat swinging – this café is quaint and calming. You can sit on the fuzzy fur-covered chairs in the window, bathing in light as you watch trams rumble by, or perch on a high stool at the bar and be in your own zone. Details add charm – a bunch of rustic flowers, a prettily patterned doorknob, gold lettering in the window and a background of perfectly chilled music.
Settle in with a smooth Allpress coffee or a specialty tea from Somage. Next, select your toast type and choose between savoury or sweet topping, or have both. If classic is what you’re after, there’s vegemite and jam, but the more creative adornments are really where it’s at.
Inspired by pizza (and who wouldn’t be?), the prosciutto number works wonderfully. A thick wedge of potato sourdough is very lightly toasted then crowned with creamy mozzarella, a little tomato, ribbons of fresh prosciutto, basil leaves and rocket; and then the whole lot’s drizzled with a beautiful olive oil. Simple and utterly fresh. The gravlax and remoulade toast is a failsafe combination. Two slim slices of walnut and rye form the stage for salmon and a creamy remoulade that’s popping with capers.
Big eaters take note: like the space, the servings are not huge, but this of course means you can bite into something more. That something more could be the dulce de leche and mascarpone or the sour cherries, buffalo yoghurt and flaked almonds. The crowd favourite is the hazelnut gianjuda and marscapone that’s sprinkled with crushed hazelnuts. Rich, crunchy and thick, it’s like a non-sickly Nutella cheesecake.
Maillard is a sweet addition to St Georges Road. The formula – toast with fancy bits on top – is simple, but it’s the creative touches that make it worth getting out of bed for.