We’re pretty stoked to see someone pushing stovetop coffee. If you’re not familiar, that’s a brew made in those angular coffee pots Italians are mad for.
At Stovetop – the fancy campus café occupying the University of Melbourne learning annex on Leicester Street – pots for two or four are served black with delicate little china cups. We love it. You get the length and earthiness of a filter brew but with the oily sweetness of espresso from the forced extraction. Here you can request yours 'zuppa' style. You'll get a toffee-crusted, cakey bread cube over which you pour the coffee and icy cold milk for a squidgy caffeinated sugar hit that puts the ‘Tim Tam slam’ to shame.
It’s a schmick space – a blonde wood and pastel homage to geometric patterns with zig zag-etched walls, a central communal table built from diamond inset concrete blocks with a sculpture of a scalene prism dangling above it. It's a Swedish mathematician’s dream.
Eats-wise, pies in flaky pastry jackets and fudgy chocolate fig brownies are flying out the door, or they do a hell of a toasted gruyere cheese and chutney sandwich and offer a few local wines if you're skipping school (or don't even go here – most customers don't).
Breakfast gets a shake up. Two big cinnamon waffles sandwiching marmalade and sweet vanilla crème are showered with a crunchy almond and cinnamon dukkah and tangy pomegranate syrup. The waffles are a little chewy, and for us the dish goes overboard with competing flavours. But hey, we're waffle purists.
Bacon and eggs here looks like curled slices of crisped up kaiserfleisch with poached eggs and a great meaty biscuit of black pudding. Under-seasoned braised cabbage doesn’t add much to the dish,
but apple chutney cuts the richness of the blood sausage like a sweet vinegary dagger.
We have to nudge the waiter a few times for water and the bill, and we'd like to see fewer ingredients on plates and more attention given to those that are there, but the crew are friendly (they’ll let you pay for a single coffee by card), the coffee is ace and the Victoria Markets are right nearby. That's a win, Carlton.