I am an idiot.
But you probably already knew that, so let me be more specific. Before work, I decided to pop into Earl Canteen for the duck baguette I’d yet to salivate over. Despite living in Melbourne for twenty years and spending at least ten in the city, I managed to hop on the wrong tram and thus be whisked away far from Earl.
Serendiptously, I was near the brand new Le Traiteur. Rather mussed up (due to rain) and amused (due to having to walk past a strip joint), I went in and squinted myopically at the menu, pondering what baguette to take away.
They had just started making them when I’d arrived, and not being able to wait long, I told them what appealed and they could give me what was ready. Thus, I met the salted beef, organic Emmenthal, gherkin and mustard mayonnaise baguette.
I’m a massive gherkin and mustard fan, so this was guaranteed to satisfy. But the beef! So tender. The baguettes are very soft, which is great for me as sometimes I struggle to chomp the crustier versions. It didn’t quite fill me up and left me wishing I’d chosen a pastry as an afternoon tea snack.
Under much less idiotic circumstances, I found myself invited by Penny, Billy and Tristan to have breakfast at quite the anti-night owl hour and got my transport shit sorted – Le Traiteur is a two-minute walk from Flagstaff station. Coffees and tea were ordered as we strategically selected our breakfast choices. I liked that there was an unwritten agreement that everyone could take photos of each others’ dishes and that the staff were so cheerful and accommodating about photos of the premises and them at work. Suck on that, Stuart White!
I chose one of the simpler, heartier dishes on the menu – the semolina porridge with poached fruits quatre épices. You should have seen the look on my face when I bit into that glorious confit cumquat. This is as close to Ready-Brek as I’ll ever get in my adopted country – nourishing, not too sweet and fortifying. I felt ready to be bundled off into the cold after this. There are lots of ‘sexier’ breakfast options on the menu, but don’t neglect this because it sounds plain – it isn’t.
Partner in crime Tristan got the pikelet stack with Calvados apples and crème fraiche. Having anything with Calvados so early in the morning has got to be labelled decadent!
Billy had the croque madame. This would make a great takeaway breakfast. Feel free to pick it up with your hands and eat it like a sandwich!
Penny chose a dish I would normally choose (I seem to prefer savoury breakfast or brunch dishes to sweet) – the confit eggs, cured trout and fromage frais on seeded loaf. The confit egg piqued up everyone’s curiosity as it is poached in warm oil. That’s right. And yet, its edges look so crispy, as if fried…Penny vowed she would experiment in her kitchen. As for myself, I can barely poach an egg…can’t quite slide them out properly so they look pretty. It’s most likely that if I ever went to a Masterchef audition, they’d just see me and laugh. They’d know.
Not much to add, really. The staff are very friendly, the food’s great and I want to go back. I’m very likely to duck in again for a meal before work even though it’s not at all on my way – would you not agree that that’s a firm endorsement?
If you’d like to read my fellow breakfasters’ reports on this lovely place, head on over to Half-Eaten and Addictive and consuming. Aside from being ace food blog wanksters, they are consummate company for pre-work city breakfasts. Hope we can do it again, guys!
*Fr. I’m not a caterer