The Duchess of Cambridge may not be around as often as us Aussies would like, but a brand-new, royal blue cafe is making sure we get our fix, taking its name from dear Kate’s maiden name.
The venue is the second hospitality baby of Randy Dhamanhuri and Valerie Fong, of Melbourne’s Operator 25. They saw an opportunity to launch a new venue in the bourgeoning hub of Prahran, and so Middletown was born.
They’re stepping away from the playful approach they were known for at Operator 25, in favour of a more refined style appropriate for their muse. It’s a cafe more reminiscent of a restaurant, with a quality brunch menu to boot.
Gilly Singh (Top Paddock, Kettle Black and Two Birds One Stone) is at the helm in the kitchen, bringing inventive techniques worthy of your plate, and your Instagram account. It’s not gimmicky though, the dishes hero quality local produce and are honest in their execution.
Brunch favourites such as eggs benedict are elevated with pork pastrami and aerated orange hollandaise. Melbourne’s ubiquitous avocado on toast is given a makeover with cornbread, goat’s cheese mousse, pomegranate and smoked beetroot. If sweets are more your thing, don’t go past the coffee waffles.
Head Barista, Mikael Jasin, works with coffee beans from Code Black. A customised white coffee machine with gold trim sits pretty atop the bench in the dedicated Brew Bar. Mikael is less about pomp and more about producing excellent coffee, with absolute consistency across a variety of brewing techniques.
The space forgoes Melbourne’s industrial-chic cafe uniform. Everything from the striking navy colour palette to the terrazzo tiles and brass trims has been carefully considered to evoke a regal setting, and there are beautiful fresh cut flowers on every table.
Worthy of its royal pedigree, Middletown is beautiful but warm and unpretentious. It’s the kind of place you’d be happy to take your in-laws, or sit back for a long lazy brunch with your girlfriends.
Words by Allyse Wafer