St. Charly feels a bit like a generational invasion. Smack bang in the middle of Lygon’s Street’s spaghetti strip, you’ve got this: a pastel popping, geometric brunch bar, dishing up Euro-Asian breakfast and very good coffee. Is this a sign of things to come?
There’s a lot to like about St. Charly, especially if you’re a fan of classic Melbourne cafe schtick. The tables are candy-stripe pink, the pendant lights enclosed in sculptural tetrahedrons. There’s a sexy Synesso Hydra up on the bar and mint green cups for your flat white. It doesn’t feel like Lygon St, but maybe that’s the point—few people would argue that this particular pocket of Carlton could do with a shake-up.
So you’re sitting down to Sunday lunch. What do you order? The brekky runs all-day, so you’ve got some options. The potato and caraway rosti is probably the house favourite, topped with smoked trout, crispy cavolo nero and a caper hollandaise. But personally we’re a sucker for the chilli scramble: given a real kick with some housemade sambal.
The sambal is a bit of a running theme actually. It pops up again in the St. Charly Chicken Burger—Portuguese-style tenderloins with Monterey Jack cheese, grilled pineapple crispy bacon, baby cos and a wicked sambal chilli aioli. The clash of European and Malaysian, Indonesian and Middle Eastern flavours on the menu is a tightrope act, but head chef Dan Kellie is smart enough to pull it off.
No time to sit down? Grab a pastrami, cheese and pickle toastie to go, or maybe a cheeky gluten-free raspberry friend. There’s you standard mix of cakes, pastries and smackerals up at the front counter.
Industry Beans supplies the beans. They’re using a Rose Street blend for the milk coffees and rotating single origin for you Long Black drinkers. You can also get a single origin filter batch brew and cold drip (courtesy of a custom-built drip tower).
This is Carlton after all, right? You don’t muck around with coffee up here.
Image credit: Jenna Fahey-White