Friday, 27 December 2013

Auction Rooms, North Melbourne - 14 Dec 2013

Cool space at Auction Rooms - a converted warehouse and an old auction room
During our food-filled weekend in Melbourne, Auction Rooms was the first cafe that we visited (and my first stop of my coffee crawl, more on this in an upcoming post). Auction Rooms is housed in an old auction house on Errol Street, North Melbourne and is both a coffee roastery and cafe. Auction Room is a very popular cafe and highly regarded, having been awarded Melbourne's Best Cafe in The Age Good Cafe Guide 2013.

All day menu
Following on from the auction theme, the all day menu consists of smaller items, which are listed as opening bids and more substantial dishes, listed as counter bids. After we reviewed the menu, we put in our "bids" and here's what I thought of the food and the coffee at Auction Room.

Macchiato ($4)
I ordered a macchiato, which used single origin beans were from Konga Co-op, Ethiopia. This coffee was very enjoyable with an interesting and complex flavour profile of floral, stone fruit and melon notes. Auction Room uses beans from Small Batch Roasting Co.      

Cappuccino ($4)
My wife went for her standard cappuccino.  The cappuccino was also very good. It was smooth, full bodied and had enjoyable flavours without any bitter after taste. The beans used were also from Konga Co-op, Ethiopia.

Banana & walnut bread with espresso butter & maple syrup ($10.50)
My wife ordered the banana & walnut bread, which our waitress tells us is a signature at Auction Room and a crowd favourite. We can certainly see why. The banana bread was moist, fluffy and not too dense. We both welcomed the addition of walnuts, as it made the banana bread more interesting. Spreading the espresso butter and watching it melt into the banana bread is to drool for! The coffee flavour adds another dimension to what is already a satisfying dish. And don't forget to drown the banana bread in maple syrup.... yum! 

This is certainly not the healthy option on the menu. The serving was huge and my wife couldn't finish it so I had to help her out, which I  certainly wasn't complaining about given how tasty this banana bread was.   

Crispy skinned pork belly with watermelon, pickles & quail eggs ($19)
I decided to order the dinner-for-breakfast option, crispy skin pork belly. The portion was quite large and being a rich dish (and also because I had some of my wife's banana bread), it was a struggle to finish and I needed to be rolled out of the cafe! Having said this, I really enjoyed this dish.

The pork belly was very well cooked. The crackling was crispy, the meat was tasty and so tender that both the meat and fat just melted in the mouth.  Just delicious!

The watermelon was grilled and I found this component to be quite interesting. Surprisingly it goes well with the pork belly, something that is fresh and juicy to cut through the fattiness of the pork belly. Grilling the watermelon gives it a more meaty texture.

The quail eggs were a vibrant purple as they were beetroot - pickled. I am not sure whether this actually enhanced the flavour of the quail eggs, they were still pleasant to eat (and look at) nonetheless.

The pickles were good for cutting through the richness of the pork. They were deep fried, and to be honest I would have preferred the pickles were served unfried.

Barisra at work and open kitchen
Auction Room is a cool cafe with an awesome vibe. It's in a converted warehouse, so it reminded me a bit of Grounds of Alexandria, except Auction Room is smaller and serves better food and coffee, in my opinion. It's places like this that have made me fall in love with Melbourne's cafe scene.    

Highlight: Excellent coffee. One of the better cups in Melbourne.
Lowlight:We were so full from the big portions, that we needed to take a long, long walk to burn off all those calories. Perfect for curing a hangover though!    
Overall: Auction Room is a fantastic cafe. Both the coffee and food are great here and reasonably priced. The staff are friendly too and the the dining space is casual and relaxed. A great spot to unwind at during the weekend. 7.5/10 (Great)                     

Auction Rooms

Address: 103 - 107 Errol St, North Melbourne VIC
Contact no: 03 9326 7749

Auction Rooms on Urbanspoon