The stretch of East Melbourne, filled with hospitals, has been a bit of a black hole for good food, which really seems unfortunate when you think about it.
So the guys behind Square and Compass, Kael Sahely (Pillar of Salt, Touchwood, Barry) Matt Stribley (Porgie and Mr Jones) and Jeremy Fraser (Barry, Porgie and Mr Jones), not only bring great a wealth of experience in the cafe scene to the area…they’re bloody genius’s too to capitalise on a relatively unexplored market.
On a Saturday morning, the place is pumping with a 20 to 30 minute wait, which Brad and I accept. Tucked away on Clarendon Street, Square and Compass has the face of a quaint little terrace house, but step inside and it’s been fleshed out into all things Melbourne likes. Blonde woods, white and bright spaces, sharp black lines and a nice little hubbub of noise.
It’s a cold day, but we’re seated out the back in the cute courtyard. Fortunately the outdoor heaters are pretty effective, and we’re not too uncomfortable during our brunch.
Coffees are a little wait, but the place is busy, but when my chai comes out nice and dark, warm and rich, I am happy.
These days I don’t often order scrambled eggs or omelettes when I’m out for brunch. Brad and whip up an omelette that pleases me, and scrambled eggs I’m pretty comfortable doing at home too. But this was all I was in the mood for when looking at the menu at Square and Compass…and they do the classics good.
Brad’s red chilli scrambled eggs with bacon, parmesan, spring onions, parsley and toast was just delicious. A total kick from the chilli, soft and light eggs, and plenty of moreish goodness from the bacon and parmesan. The flavours were comforting.
My omelette with chargrilled leeks, hazelnuts and pecorino was a beast, lazily stretched out over two slices of gluten free toast. The omelette itself was so fluffy and light as well, but I just loved the combination of the sweet leek, and earthy, but also very crunchy hazelnuts, adding an unexpected flavour and texture…and not something I might have thought to add on my own at home. I gobbled this down in a heart beat.
Cute, straightforward, delicious. Square and Compass is bringing sorely needed good food to an area that’s otherwise relevantly barren. I may not line up again for it, but would be more than happy to pop in again if there wasn’t!
222 Clarendon Street
East Melbourne 3002