REIGN SUPREME

A cafe that’s in­spired by the Duchess of Cam­bridge? This en­tic­ing

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Eat Out -

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.

From top: cof­fee 229 High St, Prahran mid­dle­town .com. au

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