Auction RoomsAugust 18, 2011
Lunch time on a Monday and the place was buzzing, I think you’d be hard pressed to find a seat here on weekends. The first thing I will note is my surprise at the size of Auction Rooms. Housed in a building that used to, surprise, surprise, hold auctions, the space is very large, and I particularly liked how they had split levels of tables, which broke up the large space into more intimate-feeling dining areas. There were lovely fresh flowers all around, coffee gear scattered across tables and benches, and really sweet light fittings.
This photo of the chefs makes me laugh because the one on the right looks so miserable! Perhaps he didn’t like the idea of having his photo taken.
We sat outside, in a small covered courtyard with exposed brick walls, an olive tree and school-style chairs to sit on. I thought this was slightly ironic, seeing as I went to school with both A and N, and sitting on those chairs made me think of year 12 again.
But enough on the coffee. How was the food, you ask? Much, much better. Excellent, in fact. The menu is very interesting, they offer a fairly unusual breakfast menu, and slightly smaller but no less intriguing lunch menu. Apart from what we ordered, here are a couple of dishes that caught my eye.
- “Opening Bid” – house made chorizo, meredith goat’s feta, salmon pastrami, avocado, black pudding (I very very nearly ordered this one)
- “Shady Deal” – moroccan tomato + chorizo stew w eggplant, olives, poached eggs, dukkah and feta served with grilled flat bread (same comment)
- Coriander felafel + poached eggs on girlled flat bread w cumin + mint yoghurt, tabouli, dukkah and tahini sauce. (Miss A’s valid criticism of Auction Rooms is that sometimes they make dishes with weird combinations just for the sake of having weird combinations, and personally I’m not convinced that this dish would work)
- “La fin de Elvis Presley” – french toast w caramelised banana + rum puree, creamed peanut butter served w crispy pancetta + vanilla cream (holy hell)
Miss A decided on the rather suspect sounding “Fish Taco” for her lunch: spiced fish w guacamole, sour cream and black bean salsa, served in a soft tortilla. “Fish taco…sexual connotation aside, it was very tasty, I love coriander so this dish is vying for my love. Just the right amount of spice and avocado”, wrote Miss A of her dish. It certainly looked lovely and fresh and colourful.
So how shall I conclude this review of Auction Rooms? Here’s the thing. The coffee wasn’t good. The food was good (if over hyped but that’s no one’s fault but my own). The atmosphere was chillin’. The wait staff were cheery. The rest of the menu was enticing. Despite a poor coffee performance, I still think Auction Rooms is a very good cafe. If I return for a second visit and the coffee is again awful, I will let you know, but I do think you should hop over to Errol St yourself to see what all the hype is about.
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