Collingwood still industrial heart has sprouted a cafe with a curious name – Lemon, Middle and Orange. The reason for the moniker? The stainless steel and wood cafe is an architecturally designed conversion from an old paint factory and those were the chrome pigments the factory used.
Despite the fact Rokeby Street harbours more trucks than foot traffic, Lemon, Middle and Orange has become already become a favourite with nearby residents and workers who totter along the narrow single-lane footpath to the unsigned frontage. The small tunnel-like entrance of perforated steel leads out into a narrow, pared back indoor space with a long wooden bench along the wall. It’s a couple of degrees warmer than outside due to the cranking kitchen, which is something you may or may not desire depending on the weather.
We arrived on a weekday lunch time and there were not very many tables left. We managed to snag a small table by the front foyer take-away area (with distinctive felt-upholstered paint cans as seating) and scanned the small but interesting breakfast menu which has an Irish slant due to the owners’ Irish heritage.
I order house smoked plum cured Tasmanian salmon ($17) which arrives with a generous helping of lightly smoked fish, some mellow fried potato latkes (pancakes) which are popular in Ireland, two punctured poached eggs, a mound of shaved fennel toppling over the plate and a slick of horseradish cream. It was a beautifully balanced mix of richness and lightness, with lots of interesting textures combining together.
For dessert I go back to breakfast and order the waffles with caramelised banana puree and Jock’s vanilla ice-cream ($15). On paper it is a delicious mix but fried waffles, crunchy banana chips and crispy bacon all together equalled too much crunch at once for me. All those dry goods were a pain to pile onto a fork (even smeared with puree and ice cream) and it actually hurt my mouth to chew it! I would have preferred plain old sliced banana on my waffles instead and then the balance would have been perfect.
The lunch menu uses the traditional Irish brown soda bread they bake onsite every day and I’m told that the bread is quickly becoming a signature dish at the cafe.
Lemon, Middle and Orange is worth a visit, though I’d try to avoid any peak times. We went around 12 midday on a Friday so it was understandably busy but there was quite a wait for the food – long enough to warrant a follow up to see whether my order had been lost.
M–F 7.30am till 3:30pm
Sat 8am till 3pm
Sun 9am till 3pm
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