As someone who busies herself eating her way around Melbourne, it’s rare that I get hit with a bad case of food FOMO. Order anxiety? Never heard of it! From early morning breakfasts to accidental late night ‘snacks’ (i.e: entire double stack burgers, and don’t scrimp on the pickles…), my ordering skills have been honed to perfection. I can glance at a menu, weigh up the novelty factor of exotic items against the trademark staples, and order what is widely regarded as the best dish in the house. Or, rather, I thought I could...
Listers, meet Coco & Thyme—the delicious new café that has popped up in North Fitzroy to give us all a case of ordering anxiety. Why? Well, unless you’ve somehow engineered yourself a second stomach, you’re going to have trouble fitting in all of the incredible dishes that are on this cracking Middle Eastern influenced menu.
Coco & Thyme is the brainchild of Carol Sassine and Zac Alajaji, two restaurateurs and coffee maestros who have worked within Melbourne’s food and drink scene for over a decade but, until late 2015, hadn’t pooled their talents to start a venture of their own. After finding an ex-fine-dining space on St Georges Road, the pair set to work transforming it into a modern cafe that encapsulates everything that’s important to them—delicious food, great quality coffee, and a warm, inviting atmosphere that buzzes with happy, relaxed customers. The rest, as they say, is brunch-loving history.
The first thing that bowls me over is the design of the Coco & Thyme space itself. High ceilings, windows that flood the space with natural light, and an extended gallery area that doubles up as an events space make for a venue that is a picture-perfect location for an early-morning coffee, a long lunch, or an afternoon glass of wine. Compared to the recent vogue for shoebox-sized eateries, Coco & Thyme comes as a breath of fresh air, one that’s especially welcome if you’ve got a pram or two in your brunch entourage, or fancy spreading out with a laptop or a book.
But onto the menu. Coco & Thyme’s kitchen team are experts on combining fresh ingredients, celebrated classics and lesser-known Middle Eastern flavours. You’ll find a drool-worthy avo and bacon breakfast burger sitting right next to shanklish (that’s a cow’s cheese that comes with herbs, tomatoes, olive oil and traditional flatbread)—and the health-driven Forbidden Rice, which comes with roasted root vegetables, almonds, pomegranate, a poached egg, all tossed in flax oil dressing, is countered by the classic avo and feta on toast. There are gluten free sweet treats, fresh juices and a kids menu too, catering to any and all appetites.
Better yet, Coco & Thyme has ditched the ‘walk in’s only’ approach. They are more than happy to let you book a table, no matter how many are in your brunch, lunch or afternoon catch-up crew. NO MORE QUEUING FOR AN HOUR FOR BREAKFAST, PEOPLE.
When it came to ordering, I was pretty assured that I had made the right choice. Having settled on the drool-worthy breakfast board, Breakfast Thyme, which comes with labne, sujuk Turkish sausage, sumac, mint, olives, vine tomatoes and an egg, served on zataar flatbread, I was ready for a feast that trumped all other dishes. However, the food FOMO hit me hard when the table next to me was served the Taylors Bay Benny—eggs Benedict with Taylors Bay smoked salmon, fresh greens, panko crumbed choux potatoes and apple cider hollandaise—the house bircher muesli and the 100’s and 1000’s ice cream and fairy floss sandwich (!!!) for the most junior member of their party. Absolutely EVERYTHING looked incredible, and with a smug sip of a chai tea, the fellow breakfaster assured me that it was.
Welcoming families, private parties, parent and kid catch-ups, hangover brunches (yes, they do a mean Bloody Mary), and everything in between, Coco & Thyme is a fantastic new addition to the inner north that deserves far more than a fleeting visit. Whether you’re a northside local in need of a feed before hitting Edinburgh Gardens for some park action, or a southsider looking for a new destination to convince you to stray from your own suburb, we can guarantee that this newcomer will tick your boxes. As for the food FOMO? Let’s just say that your first visit most definitely won’t be your last.
Coco & Thyme runs Mums & Bubs brunches, which include coffee and brunch platters, Monday through Thursday. Check out @cocoandthyme on Instagram for the latest specials and menu additions. To book a table or event at Coco & Thyme, call 03 9482 3002.
Editor's Note: This article is proudly sponsored by Coco & Thyme and endorsed by The Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make The Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.
Image credit: Gareth Sobey for The Urban List