Do you have a brother?

Does he make you coffee? Cook you eggs? Bake you muffins?

If he’s an annoying brother, then he might just do so.

Annoying Brother Espresso + Kitchen is a small new cafe that’s opened on the southern end of Nicholson St village on the corner of Bik Lane. I have no idea about the origins of the name but it’s catchy and I like the on-theme blackboard cartoon that comprises part of the cafe’s decor.

During my weekday visit it was popular with nearby office workers and most curiously, Irish construction workers in fluorescent orange vests! Guess there must be a site nearby and who’s to say that they don’t deserve better than builders tea?

As the name suggests, the cafe specialises in coffee – they roast and grind their own beans and there’s a rotating menu of blends to try. I have it on good authority from Miss Kish that the coffee is excellent! The food menu is a short affair of about a dozen breakfast items made from locally sourced ingredients – eggs, pancakes, muesli – and a handful of ‘lunchie’ things – a steak sandwich, fritters.

I love dukkah eggs when I see them on a menu and this version was two jolly poached eggs sitting atop a tomato and red capsicum chunky salsa, fresh spinach greens and sprinkled with spice mix ($14.50). I don’t usually comment too much about toast  (it’s just a base for toppings a lot of the time) but this bread was remarkable for its inability to yield to a steak knife. Absolutely rock hard and inedible.

I requested a side of buttered thyme mushrooms ($3.50) which was the opposite of the bread – soft, juicy, buttery and moreish. Next time I might go the Tetris instead –  a build-your-own breakfast of eggs done how you like with a choice of sides including the magnificent mushrooms.

For sweet things I had three house made options – banana bread, muffin and cookie. After asking the owner what he recommended I went with his favourite – the raspberry and white chocolate muffin.

As he took my plate away he asked me how he liked my breakfast and I was honest – I said the eggs were great but the bread was really hard and dry. He apologised, explaining that the sourdough was fresh yesterday but had hardened overnight, and then to my surprise when he brought out the muffin on the wooden platter he said that it was on the house. A small gesture but that’s the way to treat your customers – surprise and delight.

The muffin was a just-baked soft and fluffy ending, filled with gooey chocolate and oozing raspberries (and served with a pat of butter. Really? People put butter on top on their buttery, sugary, muffin?). On par with the muffins from Proud Mary, which I consider in my muffin-eating experience to be the best in Melbourne. Muffins that are definitely worth a return visit, gratis or not.

For other great cafes in North Fitzroy, try Mitte and Mixed Business.

Annoying Brother Espresso, 660 Nicholson St, North Fitzroy +61 3 9482 9494
Mon-Fri 7am – 4pm
Sat-Sun 8:30am – 4pm

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