Melbourne Food & Wine Festival 2013
A Brunch of Cultures
@ Fifty-Six Threads Cafe
56 Derby St
The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival has come around yet again, and this time I’m taking full advantage of it as last year I didn’t attend nearly as much as I would have liked (and it didn’t help that I was sick for part of it). A couple of friends and I decided to try one of the first events on the calendar – the Brunch of Cultures, a five-course brunch showcasing a different culture in each course. It was held at Fifty-Six Threads Café in Kensington, which was set up in 2011 by AMES to help new migrants find employment.
The café itself is small and cosy, housed at the base of an apartment block. The deco is simple with very nice light fixtures which captivated some of my friends. If I lived around the area it would probably a frequent haunt of mine – but sadly I live much further away from the city than Kensington.
The five courses of the brunch were:
- Mediterranean – Greek yogurt layered with fresh seasonal fruit, local honey and pistachios: Overall, it was probably my favourite course – not sure if it was because it was first and I was starving, but it was pretty damn good. Nice and simple, the honey was amazing with a more delicate flavour while the fig was poached/baked to perfection, not being too sweet or overpowering.
- Middle Eastern – Mezze Plate: Hummus, labna, olives, egg, cucumber, pita and zatar: It was an average dish – dips were good of course though the labna didn’t have as much of a punch as the one from Byblos I blogged about awhile back.
- Asian – Asian frittata with seseme seeds, spring onion, chilli oil, sweet soy and snow pea salad: Not a bad dish overall but all of us (being Asian) find it a bit hard to judge Asian food out because it’s so similar to the food we’re brought up on at home that we find just normal. It was however the first time I had snow pea leaves raw and they are as good cooked as it is raw (If you’ve never had it cooked, go have it in a good Chinese restaurant in a garlic sauté).
- European – Italian pork and fennel sausage, potato farls, bacon and oven roasted tomato: I was looking to this one the most and it didn’t disappoint. It was probably my second favourite of all the courses as everything just worked really well together. The sausage was nice and moist, with a good amount of fat in it, while the potato farl helped to mop up all the acidity from the tomato and relish that accompanied it.
- African – Sweets platter: Baklava, Mokasas donuts, Basbosa and special biscuits by Sorghum Sisters, accompanied by coffee or tea: A really nice way to end all the courses we had though we were quite stuffed by the end of it. My favourite here was the baklava, just the right amount of sweetness (not too much!) and the crunch of the pastry was perfect. The biscuits (the white little things) were great too, with a much lighter and airy texture than I had thought by looking at it.
Overall, the $40 for this experience was great as I love small portions of lots of different things to taste (and surprisingly nothing came up that I didn’t like.. except the olives). A nice outing with a couple of good friends who share the same passion for food as me, but shame the café is a bit of a hassle to get to for just a casual breakfast/lunch.