Sunday, July 28, 2013


Disclosure: I was invited to the launch, but returned and paid for brunch the same weekend :)

"I know you!" one of the boys working at a cafe blurts out to me, on the launch night, as the owner is introducing himself.

I look at him completely befuddled, but also with a searching look in my eye, as something was clicking but I wasn't quite putting it together.

"You've been to my house!" he beams and I proceed to look even more surprised (and wondering if I've unintentionally had any one night stands) until he mentions my friend's name, who happens to be his housemate and it all clicks. Look, he had an afro the last time I saw him and now it's all shaved off. Wasn't gonna click straight away!

We all have a good laugh and Sam and George, the owners of Stovetop Cafe get back to not just meeting me, but getting to know me and telling me about their backgrounds too. 

And just like that, I feel like I'm at home. 

 photo stovetop-cafe-7207_zps3f7b5751.jpg

Stovetop recently opened their doors on Leicester Street, where they are a warm cuddle in the recently frightfully wet and windy weather. 

 photo stovetop-cafe-7219_zpsd1d13d2b.jpg

 photo stovetop-cafe-7198_zps4459fa48.jpg

I instantly fall in love with the decor, which feels very Scandinavian, with angles, clean lines and soft pastel touches against the light woodgrain. It's just so darned pretty. I particularly liked the 'house' that encloses their kitchen…after all, home is where the food is…right?

 photo stovetop-cafe-7218_zps57c4e651.jpg

Sam and George Seoud come well equipped, as a brother team, with a resume that includes numerous other cafes and hospitality joints. With Stovetop they wanted to nurture a culture where people can sit and socialise, feel like their part of the family and be accessible to their local market, uni students, with stovetop coffee, designed to be shared. 

And of course serve some banging good food. I attended the launch with Ricky, with the intention of going to get something to eat afterwards (as there's really never enough food at these things) but we both ended up being completely stuffed!

 photo stovetop-cafe-7230_zps4603049f.jpg

 photo stovetop-cafe-7238_zps893bc0b0.jpg

We were spoilt with venison and speck sausage rolls with house made tomato relish, rolled up in sesame seeds which gave a lovely texture, sweet potato and chia latkes with baba ganoush (it's baba ganoush, do I need to say anything else?) and the most beautiful little mini beef and burgundy pies. Such flaky pastry with a hearty filling.

 photo stovetop-cafe-7256_zps078bfc73.jpg

What's also great is that just about all the condiments are made in house! The tomato relish with the sausage rolls, the mustard with the wagyu sliders, the onion jam on the quiche. It just translates to a whole lot of yummy. 

 photo stovetop-cafe-7298_zps52f1f33a.jpg

 photo stovetop-cafe-7306_zpsc3ddcab7.jpg

Although we were pretty full by the time savouries were done, Ricky and I were totally eyeballing the dessert boards as they came out with brownies, caramel slices and other goodies. Emboldened by a glass of wine or two I loudly (and rather obnoxiously, sorry guys) gestured for the desserts to be brought over my way. Pronto.

 photo stovetop-cafe-7310_zpsc076f6fb.jpg

Ricky and I then pinched four cakey things to share between the two of us. So naughty. The chai spiced caramel slice was a rich treat, whilst the gluten free chocolate cake was surprisingly light, moist and just beautiful. 

 photo stovetop-cafe-7418_zpsa2a95fd6.jpg

After leaving, I continued to salivate over the menu for the next few days, it was as if someone was constantly in my ear whispering 'cinnamon waffles…duck eggs…black pudding…baba ganoush'. So as the weekend came around, I knew I had to drag Brad along for a revisit, despite it hailing as we left the house, the gutters threatening to flood and my toes freezing over, we braved it all and were greeted with smiles and warmth. 

 photo stovetop-cafe-7411_zpsc3aea59a.jpg

 photo stovetop-cafe-7409_zpsba96a704.jpg

Having just missed the brunch crowd, we had no problem grabbing a table and George came over to say hi. It's great when you know the owner is actually running around the restaurant, getting to know their clientele and doing some of the hard yards as well. 

 photo stovetop-cafe-7421_zps1d121c1d.jpg

 photo stovetop-cafe-7424_zps53bd5060.jpg

Good coffee (which I let sit for a little too long before taking a picture) and a beautifully brewed soy chai to start our day. I believe they use Prana Chai and I just loved how creamy the milk was, it gave a really nice full feel in the mouth and was quite rich in flavour as well. Definitely a contender for one of my favourite chai's in Melbourne if they keep this up!

 photo stovetop-cafe-7431_zpsee73317e.jpg

 photo stovetop-cafe-7450_zps2da3c58f.jpg

I knew I had to have the Melbourne Pantry black pudding with poached eggs, keisler fleish, braised cabbage with apple, pear chutney and toast (they've got a nice gluten free bread).  Ah. This is a gorgeously wintery brunch. Hearty but not heavy, the black pudding wasn't too intense in flavour (although I don't usually mind if it is) and the eggs were cooked perfectly. They were generous with the braised cabbage which was lovely with the hint of sweetness and helped not make the meal feel too heavy. Although there's no 'big breakfast' on the menu, this is probably as close as it gets to it…no complaints here! It's definitely a good protein hit!

Also totally crazy for that pear chutney. Yum!

 photo stovetop-cafe-7441_zps967ee34d.jpg

Brad surprised me with his choice of the sweet potato and chia latkes (which I had tried on the launch night), this time served with poached eggs, baba ganoush and a spot of rocket. I was quietly hoping he'd order the baked duck egg…but y'know…next visit right?

 photo stovetop-cafe-7447_zps275d507b.jpg

The bite I had of Brad's plate was lovely. Gorgeous smokey baba ganoush, and a whole lot of texture going on with the latkes. There's a bit of crunch going on with the chia seeds and a gorgeously comforting sweetness, from the sweet potato obviously. Also knowing that chia seedsare a superfood, quietly made me feel like I should be out saving the world or something. Cause you know. That's what superfoods do. Right?

Although full by the end of our dishes, I was intrigued by Stovetop's 'Zuppa' and convinced myself that I could squeeze it in-between the cracks of everything I had eaten in my stomach already. 

So what is a 'Zuppa'? 

 photo stovetop-cafe-7456_zpsf7550e4f.jpg

Well take a mini toasted loaf, caramelised with brown sugar and make it all cute and what not, and pop it in a coffee cup.

 photo stovetop-cafe-7467_zps1751fce1.jpg

Give your customers a Moka pot filled with lovely, lovely gently fragrant coffee and a little bit of cold milk. Get them to pour both over the loaf.


 photo stovetop-cafe-7468_zpsc2816730.jpg

Although I don't drink coffee, I was surprised how much I enjoyed this. I found the coffee with the milk so sweet, without a hint of bitterness which took me completely by surprise. George described it as a very light brunch-y take on a tiramisu, and really it is a great brunch 'dessert' option as it's not too sweet and not too heavy. I was surprised to see Brad really dig into it while I was taking a breather to digest. He will often just have one bite of something sweet and leave the rest to me…not in this situation!

 photo stovetop-cafe-7475_zps3a677283.jpg

By 1pm or so, as we were heading to leave, Stovetop filled up with the lunch crowd. I expect that Stovetop will see busy days now university starting up again and students and teachers alike needing their coffee fixes. Although I was tempted by more sweets on their countertop, after the Zuppa, I was bursting, so will just have to pop by again another time I guess.

 photo stovetop-cafe-7478_zpsf0ec2b95.jpg

So if you can't tell already, I really like what Stovetop are doing and I love that in just two visits I feel like I already feel like part of the family. Don't be put off by the rather hipster and slick looking website, there's a lot more soul waiting to be found here. 

100 Leicester Street

Stovetop on Urbanspoon

View I'm So Hungree in a larger map


  1. Holy smokes, it's like a cake affogato! SO IN!

    1. Exactly! I'd be quite happy if this became trendy... ;)

  2. Love the look of this place and the sound of the zuppa...

    1. It's super cute, and the zuppa is so delish, it's refreshing to come across something I haven't seen before!

  3. I love your blog, I always read your posts, and rarely comment, but I do love reading. those LA tacos look SO good, really miss those, and this post made me really really miss Melbourne. I think Melbourne has the best food/coffee/cafe combinations. I'm in Singapore right now and several Australians have moved here and opened cafes, but the food is NEVER as good as the food you get in the Melbourne cafes. We used to live right next to Three Bags Full and I still miss it.

    1. Hi Debbie thank you for your lovely comment! :) I agree with you on Singapore, I remember visiting a cafe with my friend and just quietly thinking in the back of my head "it's not quite Melbourne though!". I'll be in Singapore in two weeks, any suggestions for any new and delicious hot spots? :)

  4. *Leicester Street (just a heads up!) great post though

  5. Ahhh gutted that I was way too ill to join this party.. I'm still recovering from this stupid flu!

    1. Awwww, it was one of the few with enough food to fill all! Haha, hope you're feeling better soon though!

  6. That looks great! I rarely make it over to Carlton for brunch (despite living in Collingwood - there's too many local choices!) but that looks worth the trip!

    1. I can't blame you! Love brunching out in Collingwood, what a great spot! But Stovetop will probably turn into one of my favourite brunch spots, so def worth a visit in my opinion! :)

  7. It was lovely to meet you at the launch night, Ashley! You've perfectly summed up what a visit to Stovetop is like in this post! George, Sam and the rest of the staff treat every customer like an old friend. On MOnday when I was there I had the duck egg dish and it was divine, you must have it next time!

  8. A friend took me here today by surprise. I had never heard of it and had to find something afterwards and came upon your above review. Oh, you must go for the Waffles. I-n-c-r-e-d-i-b-l-e! :)