Tomboy Melbourne...where a love of repurposed industrial meets the best brownies in the city...with a home grown veggie patch and a well worn collection of Enid Blyton books on the side.
I'll cut right to the chase here...Pia and Georgina happen to have the most perfectly named baking business...Box Brownies...supplying other cafes with their sweet baked treats. Tomboy Melbourne was opened late last year, which has enabled them to not only sell their baked goods (gluten free included)...but to extend their offerings to include a focus on seasonal produce from local suppliers...including their own veggie patch. Georgina was named after George from the Famous Five...an original tomboy from way back...and a shelf of Enid Blyton books can be found in the corner...dog eared & much loved :) So my question to you is...how could I not visit a place whose very foundations were based on brownies, with a strong allegiance to my childhood heroes...the Famous Five?
We were leaving the city early...and a friend from work had sent me a link to Tomboy ages ago, so we decided to drop in not long after they opened their doors for the day. The advantage to getting there early is you can walk around and take a tonne of photos without having to worry about other diners thinking you're a mad instagrammer (and getting in the way of good photos!). The disadvantage is it's so peaceful that the staff are almost certainly thinking the exact same thing. Oh well, one of them may read this one day and see I always have the best intentions behind my frenzied photo taking :)
A strong sense of repurposing & sustainability is evident as soon as you step through the door. Everything is retro/industrial, and has previously lived another life. But it all comes together beautifully...the mural on the wall most striking. I found it hard to stay seated at the table because there were so many touches I wanted to explore. I LOVED the huge communal table with the sunken centre alongside the exposed brick wall...it immediately reminded me of my Dad's workbench...and the mint and metal chairs...I wanted to kidnap them all.
I appreciate a menu that covers the classics (smashed avo & poached eggs, jaffles etc.)...some of which include a twist to keep it fresh. Not too overwhelming, not too narrow in choice....simplicity at its best, with a good heart.
Oat porridge with baked rhubarb, panella & pistachio praline
Breakfast bun with bacon, egg, avo fetta smash with spicy tomato sauce
Their coffee reminded me of Pilgrim in Hobart (aka v. good)...and I loved how there was plenty of space for people to gather as they dropped in to pick up take aways as the morning progressed....clearly a neighbourhood favourite. Their window displays...fresh flowers, apothecary jars, cupcakes resting gently on butchers paper & wooden boards.
But...let's take a moment and talk about the brownies...because oh my goodness...not only is there multiple choices...but I had only had one bite (belgian) and I was ready to declare them the best I have had in Melbourne so far. I know `what constitutes a good brownie?' is a hot debate amongst enthusiasts...but these guys are strong contenders that must be experienced before the debate can continue....and stay for brunch! :) I am literally plotting how and when to return as I type...
You will find them at 356 Smith Street, Collingwood...and on Facebook.
So which brownie camp are you in? Dense and squishy? Crunchy on the outside? Edge piece vs. centre? I'm a slightly-squishy-edge-but-not-corner-brownie kinda girl...would love to know where you sit :)