Auction Rooms

103-107 Errol St, North Melbourne 3051
Visited: 1st December 2011

The Auction Rooms is actually a cafe housed in an old WB Ellis auction house in North Melbourne.   We came on the first day of summer, a somewhat dreary, overcast day typical of bizzaro Melbourne weather.

First of all, this place is huge.  There are lots of tables in the split-leveled sprawling space, so seating wasn't a problem especially on a week day - there was a table for two ready for us as we got there so we didn't have to wait.  

The ambience is perfect for a lazy morning brunch, very wide and airy, with sunlight streaming in from the large glass courtyard out back, and the white organ-pipe lamps dangling from the high ceilings.  The decor is interestingly industrial with concrete and wooden floors, long benches and wooden and cushioned ottoman-like chairs.  

All day brunch menu
I decided to have a mocha today, and MerlinFan had her usual latte.  The mocha was good, with the strong flavour and slight bitterness of the coffee mingling with the slightest hint of chocolate - slightly sweet, and I didn't have to add any sugar to it.  MerlinFan was happy with her latte too.  I should add as well, the brown sugar came in an interesting old Heinz tin can :D
Mocha (front), latte (back)

Salt, pepper and sugar
Today, I decided to go with the roasted pork belly, served on a corn crepe with coffee BBQ sauce, black cabbage slaw and fried slow-poached eggs.

Roasted pork belly, corn crepe, black cabbage slaw and fried slow poached eggs ($18)
This dish was delicious!!!  The crepe was thin and light, with pieces of corn scattered throughout.  Inside, lay two generous strips of crispy roasted pork belly packed full of flavour.   I really loved this pork belly - it was tender and didn't have a thick layer of greasy fat at all.  The dish was brought together perfectly by a sprinkle of tangy coffee BBQ sauce.

Two generous strips of pork belly inside
There was only one downfall to this dish, though.  The poached eggs were not perfectly poached - the yolk was not runny, but rather just soft, like soft boiled eggs.  Awww.... this could have gotten an easy 10/10.  But then again, it is fried slow poached eggs so I'm not sure how that's meant to come out.

Not runny yolk of fried poached egg
MerlinFan was having a sad day.  First of all, she wanted to come especially for the La Fin de Elvis Presley that everyone had been raving about online.  Alas, today it was not on the menu!

She ordered the next best thing, that was the Pain perdu, with pear & walnut cream, apple & fennel puree and poached pears.  In France, Belgium and New Orleans, French toast is called "pain perdu" which means "lost bread." (In MerlinFan's words, if it's french toast, why didn't you say so?  LOL)  The hard bread is dipped into a mixture of egg, milk, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla and pan-fried.  

Pain Perdu with pear & walnut cream, apple & fennel puree and poached pears $14.50
The french toast came out very pretty and delicate looking.  It was a very tiny single slice of bread, considering the somewhat hefty $14.50 price.  The poached pears were more like thin slivers (making up less than a quarter of a pear!) and on first glance I wondered where the pear slices were.  MerlinFan thought the french toast didn't taste particularly eggy but rather more crispy and cinnamony, quite similar to the one she had at Demitri's Feast.  The pear & walnut cream and apple & fennel puree were gorgeous though, very rich and creamy.   MerlinFan liked the walnuts - they were nicely sweet, like they were candied or cooked with honey.  I didn't sample them as I didn't want to take away more of the already minuscule amount of food MerlinFan had on her dish!

After the brunch, I asked MerlinFan if she was full - she answered "oh well, I'll just go home and have some chips or something" and at the exact moment a waitress appeared by her side to collect our empty plates.  LOL.  Oops.

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  1. Soo.. umm... where exactly are the poached pears? Oh.. that.. thought it was a cream smear! Looks rather miserable though.. I'm not surprised MerlinFan went home hungry!

  2. And is it me, or does your Pain Perdu look a little burnt?

  3. The toast definitely doesnt seem a lot!

    I really like the decor though, looks spacious and sunny too. And always love high ceiling!