A cafe that’s inspired by the Duchess of Cambridge? This enticing
MIDDLETOWN: REVIEWED BY MEGAN MILLER
MIDDLETOWN is ready for its closeup. Opened in September, this is a supremely handsome hangout, so called because it’s the “middle” ground between a restaurant and a cafe.
The name also riffs off its royal muse, Kate Middleton. Like her, the space is elegant and refined with lots of luxe – terrazzo tiles, leather seating, brass trims and marble – that elevates it from yet another cafe at the base of a new apartment block.
It’s the second venue for Randy Dhamanhuri and Valerie Fong, who also own city cafe Operator 25. The kitchen is run by chef Dilpreet “Gilly” Singh (ex-top Paddock, The Kettle Black and Two Birds One Stone).
Visit here for a brunch less ordinary. The pickled mackerel flies in the face of avo on toast, though you can get that on corn bread with smoked beetroot and goat’s cheese mousse.
The funky fish lands on toasted baguette under a fried egg, ribbons of manchego, charred bullhorn capsicum and sliced jamon for an unexpected spot of surf and turf that risks being a little too full-on for breakfast.
Preferable was the trio of mushrooms. Pancetta curls, pecorino cheese and juicy mushroom pieces ( button, enoki and oyster) join a poached egg and brioche soldiers on a bed of celeriac puree for a smart amalgam of earthy flavours. Or go sweet with coffee waffles topped with strawberries and vanilla ice cream.
Portions aren’t huge but dishes look good; artfully arranged and sporting cheffy gels, jus, balms and emulsions, and employing techniques such as sous vide, freeze-drying and smoking.
Code Black is the coffee of choice, but drinks also run to smoothies, fresh juices and house iced tea. Sweets are from Cobb Lane.
Pretty in both palette and palate, this 76-seater is reigning proud in Prahran and fit for royalty.