LBSS – Little Big Sugar Salt

August 4, 2013

385 Victoria Street, Richmond

Alright, I understand that it’s been a while since I last posted, but it seems the Gods of blogging have been against me recently. I spent the last week of July in New York, and in my defence, when you’re in New York, you have no time for anything else except enjoying being in New York. Admittedly I’ve been in Melbourne since Monday, but uni has been crazy busy with first week start-up madness, job applications, and then, most recently, I’ve been pinned down by sickness. Hooray.

Dosed up on Lemsip I may be, but one benefit of staying at home sick is, in addition to watching a lifetime of David Attenborough wildlife documentaries, being able to catch up on some blogging! I have many, many, heinously overdue posts to write up and publish, so I’m going to make an effort to get through them in the coming months. First up, Little Big Sugar Salt, possibly my new favourite small cafe in Melbourne.

First things first. I love, love, love the fitout. At times it feels like home, at times like a boutique art gallery. Walls are white, floors an exposed timber with a slight polish, and the artwork ranges from cartoonish portraits to entomological collections of butterflies, a lot of it coming from Metro Gallery in Armadale.

The room we sat in boasts a long, high, communal table, some sketches on the wall and a record player which was often attended to by the staff. Good tunes, too.

Further down the hall there’s another room with tables and benches that make very innovative use of the limited space, with bench seats running along each wall and tiny tables every now and then, just large enough to fit a couple of coffees and perhaps a cake.

Speaking of coffee, Angus Gibbs is in charge of coffee (ex Deadman Espresso, St Ali and Seven Seeds), and he’s sourcing all their beans from En Zed in Wellington. All shipments are fair trade single origins – not a single blend will be found under this roof!
Angus was all too keen to have a chat, and explained that single origins are often better to work with than blends because, beyond being able to appreciate the subtle characteristics of each bean, it also makes it easier to change the bean to suit the seasonality of each crop, as some produce better beans at different times of year.
True to form, in the time it took him to explain all that, to chat about where he’d come from and introduce me to the menu, I’d already downed my first flat white without even realising, it was just so smooth and silky! I simply had to order another, that first was too good, even though I hardly ever have more than one a day. The second was fantastic as well, dreamlike.

Their menu is fantastic – probably the most personable and funny menu I’ve come across. Dishes like ‘muesli, for the girlfriend’ made me laugh, as did the staff. Chatty, funny and keenly interested in what you think of the cafe, the owners are clearly passionate about the place.

There are only eight dishes on the menu, and they’re canvassed onto a circle divided into quadrants so you can easily decide what to order according to two choices. Little or Big? Sugar or Salt? I think it’s brilliant. Worth taking a look just to read over the witty menu, I think.

They say great minds think alike, which must be why Nic and I both ordered the same dish, Mr & Mrs Croque (Nic with an egg, me without). A peppery, cheesy sandwich that warmed the soul and the arteries. It came out on a patterned plate with a schmear of mustard underneath and a pickled onion quadrant. Beautiful Languiole cutlery, too.

Then (because we decided to really go to town with this brunch), we shared a plate of crumpets with lemon curd and mascarpone. Angus was disappointed we didn’t try the peanut butter, banana, maple and blue cheese option, but we wanted something sweet. Next time, I promised.

And look, they do give you knives and forks for this, but really who eats crumpets with cutlery? No, no, this is one for the fingers – rip, scrape, munch.

LBSS is a fantastic addition to the Richmond neighbourhood. Not only is it a good place to escape the drug dealers (as their menu advertises, ‘Cnr Victoria & Lithgow – Next to all the heroin’) and overzealous acupuncture practitioners, it’s also a fantastic place to sit, collect your thoughts and enjoy a coffee and something to eat. Well worth a visit, and a revisit, and a revisit ….

Little Big Sugar Salt - LBSS Cafe on Urbanspoon

Filed under: Brunch, Coffee, Richmond