* All reviews are the opinion of Melbourne Mum, and are not sponsored.
In Melbourne, we really are spoilt for choice when it comes to cafes. We had grand plans of having brunch at Monsieur Truffe on Father’s Day (as you do), until we rocked up at 10.30 and were informed that there wouldn’t be any tables until at least 12.30. They are so getting 0 points for kid-friendliness. I mean, who suggests waiting around for 2 hours with a toddler and a 6 year old? Yuh-ha, nup.
So we popped next door to El Mirage instead, having no idea this place even existed (even though it’s been here since late 2006). To say our expectations were exceeded is probably not saying much given that we were still feeling the sting of not getting a table next door and our expectations were low, but seriously, this place is GREAT.
The interior reminded me of a modernised 1970′s caravan, with cement floors, wood panelling starting at the walls and curving up onto the ceiling and funky retro green wallpaper defining the area between the walls and the couch seating. Loved that. The service was friendly, efficient and not at all snooty (but maybe we had a lucky day). Really loved that. The food, whilst not particularly adventurous, was tasty and compared to many other cafes/restaurants in the area, inexpensive.
There is no kid’s menu but the food is pretty standard with generous servings and would satisfy most fussy palates. We had the tex-mex beans on toast, pancakes with lemon curd and mascarpone and the ciabatta with salami, rocket and cheese and a side of home fries. I’m fussy about my home fries. So many places get them wrong, with undercooked or soggy spuds. Not this place. Beautifully crispy on the outside, soft in the middle. I’d go back solely for the home fries.
The coffee is good also but then, I’m a softie when it comes to places the serve the froth with a little heart-shaped flourish.
- What was the bill?: Lunch for 4 + coffee for 2 (and babycinos/hot chocolates for the kiddies) – $50 (an absolute steal)
- Where is it? El Mirage, 349 Lygon Street, Brunswick East (no website. Is that geek-speak for “we’re so cool we don’t have a website?”)
- How kid-friendly is it?: 8/10. No kids menu, but pretty large selection, highchairs, cash only. I would call this place suitable for most kids, but on Father’s Day, with the high ceilings, the acoustics of the space made it seem a bit chaotic and loud – not good for kids who don’t respond so favourably to such an environment!