The large cafe is underneath an apartment block and the first thing that captures your attention is the wide and high windows. If you grab a street-facing stool it’s great for people-watching (or in my case, car and tram spotting with a three year old).
Once inside it’s the cool colour palette I love. The patrician blue matched with bright white gives the place an airy, elegant and almost maritime feel. For me it evokes the Ralph Lauren and Gant set and holiday houses in Cape Cod and the Hamptons. Though apparently the styling has been inspired by the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, and hence Middletown is not named after a town in Connecticut after all but is a play on her ‘commoner’ surname.
The menu though is all Melbourne. It’s everything I love about cafes in this city – a creative menu that goes beyond eggs and toast, all day offerings and a strong drinks menu with coffee by Code Black, matcha lattes, fresh juices and healthy smoothies. The head chef Dilpreet ‘Gilly’ Singh has previously worked at Top Paddock, Kettle Black and Two Birds One Stone.
For a savoury option I try the duck leg, which is ostensibly on the lunch menu but it’s available all day. The duck is crispy-skinned and the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender. I cannot get enough of it and seriously consider ordering a second serve! I love the sharp celeriac remoulade that accompanies it, which cuts through the richness along with the tiny pops of sour cherry.
For my dessert I have the coffee waffles, already doing the rounds on Instagram. Two fat waffles comes piled with ‘textured’ strawberries in all shapes and forms, a squeeze of truffle honey and vanilla ice cream. While I love the texture of the fluffy waffles and the mountain of strawberries, I cannot detect any coffee or truffle flavouring at all, which means that is turns out to be surprisingly bland dish.
Another option for sweet treats is the glass cabinet filled with goodies from Cobb Lane. The muffins and sandwiches are made in house.
The only other query I have is with the pricing. The duck leg is a high-end restaurant dish, something that you’d expect to pay $30+ for in a restaurant. It is only $22 at Middletown and for the quality ingredients and techniques it is the bargain of the year. In fact, all the lunch dishes are $18-$22.
On the other hand, the waffles are $17 which is relatively expensive in my experience. My kale, spinach, avocado, coyo and almond milk smoothie is $11. Granted the latter is so thick and large it could count as a meal in itself, but I’m not sure when smoothies starting inching into double digits.
Middletown is another great addition to Melbourne’s brunch scene, with a beautiful interior and interesting menu that will have you returning again and again. My tip is to head straight for the lunch menu, any time of day!
- head straight to the all-day lunch menu;
- three high chairs and pram access;
- no disabled toilet;
- limited street parking, particularly hard to find on High Street.