It’s tiny, but perfectly formed and it was packed to the rafters so you just know it’s going to be good. Luckily a brunch booking didn’t turn up so we were able to pull up a primary school wooden chair to a bench looking out the front window. Twenty & Six Espresso is clearly for people in the know. It’s subtle branding doesn’t give anything away, in fact, it would be easy to walk straight past.
They serve Proud Mary and Seven Seeds coffee along with a fantastic little breakfast/brunch/lunch menu. We started with a flat white which was well made and hit the spot on this chilly morning.
I was hungry after my flight from Brisbane so I chose ‘The Russian’ which was a vodka and lemon house-cured salmon tartare with poached egg, toasted sourdough and dill and lemon creme fraiche ($16.90). It was light and fresh and danced on the palate. A perfect start to the morning. Al opted for the ‘Take a Bao’, slow roasted pork belly, caramelised five spice reduction, crunchy Asian slaw and peanuts in a bao bun ($16.90). Several times, I got the serious, glint in the eye, ‘this is really, really good food’ look. My mouthful was indeed a winner.
Other menu items that caught my eye included the ‘Organic Balinese black sticky rice’ with mango, salted coconut cream and finished with palm sugar ($15.90). ‘The Hunter’, balsamic, red wine and rosemary roasted portobello mushrooms, Spanish chorizo on sourdough, creme fraiche and truffle oil ($18.90) and as a nod to childhood ‘Sourdough Soldiers’, two free range soft boiled eggs with soldiers, butter and vegemite ($9.90).
I wondered why I felt so at home in this little space and discovered the following on the Twenty & Six Espresso website “A lot of people ask us why we named this little place Twenty & Six Espresso… Originally, the idea of Twenty & Six was to provide young designers, including ourselves, a space to collaborate, network and be creative over a drink or some food, let’s call it caffeine aided design…The name simply fell together from a typographical reference; 26 letters in the alphabet, which are essentially a graphic designer’s greatest tool…”
Melbourne is full of great cafes but there is something seriously special about this place. Great coffee, great food, staff with a great attitude. We’ll be back!
594 Queensberry Street,
(03) 9329 0298