Bean Counter – Fairfield

Bean Counter has recently changed hands – so it was an interesting opportunity to assess the new management. Beans here are ‘Di Bella’ and the coffee appears to be well made. There have been lapses in the past with coffee – sometimes undrinkable – but at the moment with new management – coffee appears to be spot on – but we will monitor the situation.

Menu is ‘Melbourne Brunch Standard’, with usual French Toast, pancakes, Eggs Benedict etc. Safe for sure with some daily chalkboard specials. The menu really needs a few novel niche dishes to elevate it a rung or two. We had eggs Benedict and Queen Benedict (smoked salmon). Both were well presented and well made. Bread is good quality La Madre sourdough. Service was very good and the water that was served had no taint or off flavours. All in all a solid 4 star rating just nudging close to five stars. I think the coffee could be a little better by choosing a different and more appropriate blend. Also the menu needs a little more innovation.

For Fairfield – Bean Counter is a shining light in an otherwise lack lustre plethora of very average Cafes. Update in March 2011,  Coffee is on the improve, very good, menu is more consistent and there is an impressive rage of photography on display from New North Gallery (upstairs). Now a 5 star rating.

Court Jester – Brunswick

Hidden in the backstreets of Brunswick amongst new housing developments and factories is this unimposing looking eatery – from the outside at least. The inside reminds me more of a gothic inspired Orthodox Church with artworks of Russian icons and other intro-spective religious themes.  The style here is ‘retro Bohemian grunge’ with artworks, sculptures, food produce and a mix of design styles filling out the dining area and a lounge area.

Coffee was excellent – they are using local micro roaster blends and it shows. The menu is Russian inspired with cosmopolitan twists and additions. We had the Kugel Stack and Salmon Stack. Eggs were perfect and the portions were very generous. Service was quick and the staff are very friendly.

We will certainly be back to try more of the menu. The Court Jester is worth the detour. On this visit it has to rate Six Stars out of Six!

15 Breese Street, Brunswick, 3056 , Wed – Fri 7-4, Sat – Sun 8-5, 03 9383 3904

Chowder House – Hepburn Springs

Off the beaten track for sure but Hepburn Springs has a few nice eateries and not too over the top prices. Daylesford and Hepburn Springs have a range of Cafes etc. Some are average and expensive – and others – like Chowder House offer excellent value, great food and good service. French Toast was great as are most of the dishes. There is something for everyone here. Rating 4 Stars out of 6.

97 Main Rd, Hepburn Springs Phone 03 5348 2221