Sunday, October 13, 2013


One thing that I love about Melbourne is the cafe culture; the cheerful familiarity that is seen in almost every establishment, the promise of at least half-decent coffee and a refuge from the crazy weather that we endure. Of course, San Francisco has it's own (decent) culture, but it's just not the same. A little more drive perhaps, and certainly a lot more people.  

With a quick pit-stop back in Melbourne planned, I was surprised to find an invitation from Operator25 in my inbox that fit perfectly into my schedule. An opportunity to try out a new Melbourne cafe while on a rare day off from work? Yes please!


The name Operator25 references the history of the location: 25 Wills St, the location of the first telephone exchange building in Melbourne. The interior is sleek but a little bare at the moment - I'm told murals have been commissioned to liven up the atmosphere. A menu designed by ex-Bacash chefs Valerie and Felipe is a mixture of breakfast and lunch items, all with a distinct contemporary Australian flair. As they say, there really is a little bit of something for everyone. With this back-story, I couldn't wait to try a few items on the menu.


First up, some CodeBlack Coffee. Have I mentioned how much I've missed Melbourne coffee? Especially when it's as delicate as this brew. While not a hard-hitting shot of flavour, it certainly showcases how simple can equal simply good.

CodeBlack Coffee
At Valerie's recommendation, we ordered two dishes to share. I know sweets are meant to come after savoury dishes, but the ricotta pancakes looked too good to not dig into straight away. So much so, that I forgot to take an Instagram photo before it was already half-demolished (bad food blogger!).

Ricotta Pancakes with Seasonal Fruits, Maple Syrup, Pecan Crumbs and Vanilla Ice Cream

The pancakes were beautifully light and not too sweet, with the fresh berries and pecan shards being good accompaniments. Not as good as ice-cream, especially for breakfast, and overall, I thought this dish was a winner.

The next dish was a twist on an old classic:

House Benedict with Potato Rosti, Cold Smoked Salmon, Poached Eggs and Chives Hollandaise

Changing the English muffin base to a Swiss Rosti? Genius! Unfortunately it wasn't perfectly executed as the potato could have done with a little more time in the pan to give an extra crispy outside and thoroughly good center. My gold-standard for rosti is one made by a Swiss chef at a cafe that's now changed hands so I guess that's an unfair Swiss advantage. Overall for this dish, and for the menu as a whole really, the philosophy of using good quality ingredients certainly paid off as the cold smoked salmon was perfectly translucent to look at, and beautifully elegant in flavour. A nice, runny egg-yolk always brings a smile to my face.

House Benedict with Potato Rosti, Cold Smoked Salmon, Poached Eggs and Chives Hollandaise

Overall, I loved breakfast at Operator25. Sure there are still some kinks to iron out in getting the menu perfect but for the most part, the food is fresh, honest and delicious, the service is friendly, and the atmosphere is relaxed. A return visit may warrant trying out the Baked Eggs with Chorizito (chorizo's more glamorous cousin) and the Sweet Corn Fritters. It's about time that some decent food made it's way up to this end of the Melbourne CBD.

Thanks again to the wonderful team at Operator25 - you guys made for a memorable meal and morning.

We dined as guests of Operator25.

25 Wills St, Melbourne
Mon-Fri 7am-4pm, Sat-Sun 9am-4pm

Operator25 on Urbanspoon