In Melbourne’s ever-competitive brunch scene, finding something truly different can be tricky. St Kilda newcomer Nord Café is shaking up the token Aussie breakfast with Swedish style, serving everything from eggs and fish roe paste on home-baked bread to bona-fide Swedish meatballs in its petite Chapel Street space.
Originally hailing from Australia, Nord Café owners Luke Maguinness and Anna Olsson spent around nine years living in Stockholm, where they immersed themselves in Swedish culture and the city’s simple approach to food and drink.
Returning home to Melbourne, they decided to share their new-found Swedish delicacies with the city and so, in autumn 2015, they opened Nord.
The Nord café space itself is stylishly modest (Sweden to a tee) decorated with Scandinavian knickknacks and art prints that tap into the country’s affinity for fresh air, fjords, and the great outdoors. When it comes to the menu, the writing’s on the wall: You’ll find everything you need to know on a chalkboard that covers the entirety of one side of the premises.
This new Melbourne café strips back wholesome food to its essence so, if you’re the sort of brunch-lover that can’t eat unless your plate has been dusted with desiccated crushed pearls and edible tropical flowers, Nord probably isn’t for you. Take the Nord signature prawn sandwich: Cold-water prawns with a sprig or two of dill, some crème fraiche and a single slice of lemon on home-baked bread; It’s Swedish simplicity in fine edible form.
Needless to say, the Nord team does enjoy a good breakfast platter! The Swedish breakfast board comes with sliced egg, Kalles fish roe paste (a Stockholm household staple, which is super-salty and definitely our new fave sandwich ingredient), avocado, granary bread and a jar of home-made granola, complete with fruit and yoghurt. If you’re hungry and need something healthy to get you through until lunchtime, this is assured to stave off those pangs.
But you came for the meatballs, right? Nord Cafe’s kitchen ditches tomato-laden Italian-style meatballs in favour of the much cleaner, lightly seasoned Swedish interpretation. Served with beetroot, again, this is wholesome and flavoursome, with not a tinned chopped tomato in site.
No Melbourne café is complete without a cracking cake cabinet and at Nord you’ll find traditional baked goods such as cinnamon scrolls and biscuits that make a tasty accompaniment to their incredible Red Star coffee. Nord’s master of everything baked and delicious, Anna, works from one of Sweden’s classic cook books to create everything from scratch, including the house waffle batter, which makes for the cutest heart-shaped breakfast we’ve ever seen! Want to impress your loved one, or just cheer up a mate who’s had a long week? Nord’s waffles with strawberry jam and cream are the perfect breakfast sentiment.
Every so often it’s a breathe of fresh air to stumble on something different in our coffee-loving, avo-smashing city. Drop into new Melbourne cafe Nord this weekend and get rediscovering the beauty of simplicity, one breakfast at a time.
If this Swedish breakfast board sounds like heaven, check out our list of Melbourne's Best Breakfast Boards For Indecisive Eaters.
Image credit: Sabine Legrand for The Urban List