Three Bags Full

December 8, 2011 at 10:24 pm (Abbotsford, Breakfast/Brunch, Coffee, Victoria) (, , )

I’m generally less keen on trekking out Abbotsford/Collingwood-way for breakfast, mainly because it involves crossing some notoriously annoying roads and there are so many great places to choose from closer to home.  I am, however, willing to make the trip to Three Bags Full for its quirky menu and great coffee.  Early is better than late though as it starts to get busy right on opening time and it’s nice to have a little bit of peace and quiet to enjoy the sharp, funky interior space.  And I’m not exaggerating when I say that you could potentially face a 45min wait during peak times.

Located in the old Denton Mills Hat Factory building, Three Bags Full takes recycling to the next level.  Light fixtures include unique pieces fashioned from scrap metal and upside down coffee cups.  Old street signs have been turned into stools and tables.  And the best by far is the communal table, which I’ve heard was constructed from a ten pin bowling lane.

Sugar-addict that I am, I’ve been quite conscientious in sampling the “Sweet Tooth” options.  The twice baked French toast is pretty epic, like bread and butter pudding on steroids.  The first time I had this, it was one of the specials, served with figs, pistachios and berry mascarpone, but it’s now been returned to the regular menu so you can be sure it’s available when the craving hits 😀

Ricotta hot cakes with poached fruit and orange infused ricotta; not-too-sweet hot cakes that weren’t soggy despite the generous topping of berries and pear and rhubarb poached to perfection.

Sticky black gingerbread with candied cumquat and pistachios is by far the most addictive item on the menu.  The bread is so dense and gooey, it’s almost like eating a gingerbread brownie.  The gingerbread on its own is already quite sweet.  Add the cumquat syrup and it’s verging on being sickly sweet but fortunately, a huge dollop of vanilla bean mascarpone takes some of the edge off and we’re able to enjoy the tartness that cumquats bring to the dish.

For those inclined to start the day on a healthy note, there are some healthier options 😛  Toasted natural muesli with honey labna and poached fruit is generous and, although not as impressive as Auction Rooms’ offering, pretty tasty.

There’s also a range of interesting savoury items and vegetarians are well catered for (although I’m not sure if all would agree that smoked trout counts as vegetarian).  My brunch buddy was pretty happy with his poached eggs on sourdough with crushed peas, tomato vinaigrette and feta.  Most importantly, the toast was dense and crusty but did not require a steak knife to cut through.  I’ll definitely have to navigate away from the sweets next time; porterhouse steak sandwich sounds pretty tempting.

I guess the advantage of not going for, let’s face it, dessert first up is that I’d feel less guilty about ordering a cheesecake brownie afterwards.  The cheesecake brownies are to die for!  So worth enduring strange looks from people when eating a brownie at 8.30am.  And if cheesecake’s not for you, there’s always a store of Dench pastries and other Sugadeaux cakes on offer.

And after all that, we finally move onto coffee.  Supplied by Five Senses, coffee-lovers are spoilt for choice with a signature blend, Three Bags espresso blend and single origins on offer and the option of espresso, pour over or Clover coffee.  The staff are always enthusiastic about helping you choose, explaining the differences in flavour profiles and even where the beans are sourced from if you’re interested in finding out.  Coffees that stood out for me on past visits include a signature blend of Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Columbian Monseratte and Brazilian Amazonia with hints of toffee and light acidity and a very bold Bolivian single origin coffee with a dark chocolate finish.  Both were fantastic in a magic coffee with the double ristretto base really bringing out the flavours.

It’s amazing how, with all the cafés in Melbourne that share a similar concept, Three Bags Full continues to stand out.  And it all comes down to the basics of having an inspired menu, quality coffee prepared well and fantastic service.  Fantastic location to spend time with friends and it’s definitely a place I’ll continue to take visitors to because it never fails to impress.


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