Sunday, January 8, 2012

Cafe Love: Elceed, North Melbourne

Aubergine and orange features in the collections of vintage furniture and interior at Elceed make a bright edition to the North Melbourne cafe scene.

Discovering fabulous new places to eat is one of my favourite things to do. I also love watching and supporting small businesses and seeing people follow their passions or live their dreams. So I was pretty much skipping down the street after visiting Elceed cafe in North Melbourne when they opened in late October. I've continued to feel just as excited on further visits at lunch time after the ten minute zoom over from the office and on more leisurely weekend visits, sometimes after a pleasant cycle down Dynon Road.

 Clockwise from top left: The view of Elceed from Queensberry Street; classic cakes and treats made in-house always beckon from the front counter; the main room at the back is welcoming and relaxed; delicious pies and pastries are all house-made (shown here in the front display cabinet). 

So why am I so enraptured by Elceed? On top of ticking all three of my eating out boxes of interesting, well-done food, top service and a delightful setting (my holy trinity of the eating out experience), it has an X factor about it derived from being run by people who are boldly and passionately following their dreams. Owner-Manager Hannah has more than six years experience in the industry, including stints at favourite cafes of the inner north and west, Cornershop in Yarraville and Fuel in Moonee Ponds. She is also the sister of a close friend and is as determined as she was when I met her more than 15 years ago. Hannah and partner Bill spent ten days transforming Elceed from an untouched Italian coffee house to the modern eatery it is today. Bill made the impressive wooden bench seat that runs the length of the main room at the back, as well as the bench under the huge window they had installed to overlook the courtyard and create a charming light-filled space.  

Clockwise from top left: Elceed's main room at the back; Elceed's chai tea is an organic premium black tea blended with exotic spices by Zee Tea; the bench along the window overlooks the courtyard; Vanilla rice pudding with raspberry jelly and flaked almonds $12.50. 


Elceed is filled with eclectic finds collected from vintage stores and auctions around the state, adding colour and interest to the newly white space. Seating is a fun mix of orange vinyl bar stools and quilted dining chairs, wooden chairs upholstered in an orange retro print and, my favourites, a set of 50s style dining chairs covered in aubergine to tie in with the dado railing. Each visit, I love noticing even more playful, stylish details and seeing the place evolve.

Out the back is a courtyard with many rustic and quirky features to keep you interested over a bite to eat. Tall Tolix stools slip under a raised table fashioned from an old door, while bird cages dangle from a little shed. Rather than fight against North Melbourne's industrial past, this space embraces it with vintage surprises in every nook. The blue and pink owls by Bill's tattoo artist cousin mark the male and female toilets respectively and provide a burst of colour.


As for the food, I am keenly making my way through the menu and I can't get enough of the Supreme coffee. The Elceed BLT with avocado smash ($12.50) is so simple, fresh and tasty. Ditto the mushroom bruschetta with Meredith Dairy goat's cheese feta, olive tapenade and candied prosciutto ($14.50). Sorry, no photos of these even though they are two of my favourites.

Corn fritters with sour cream, salsa, rocket and pesto served with bacon (pictured) or salmon ($15.50). 

The highlight of the corn fritters is the delicious pesto, made in-house like nearly everything at Elceed. The actual corn cakes were really good but the corn flavour was quite subtle and as a corn fiend, I was hoping for a definite sweet corn fix. I'm told there have been a few tweaks made to the recipe so I'm keen to try the new (and I'm sure improved) version. And there lies the joy of Elceed. A business not looking to plod along idly, but one keen to keep on growing and improving by the day.


Baked egg special with red thai curry and sourdough ($14.90). The Mister devoured these and described them as "yummy"! There is a daily baked egg special and another daily special, always something enticing like the french toast with rhubarb, strawberries and rosewater syrup that I indulged in the other day!

Pea and broad bean smash with mint, ricotta and poached eggs ($14.90).

Elceed has some great options when looking for fresh, healthy breakfasts and this pea and broad bean smash is no exception. I felt like I'd made a good choice with this dish and the snow pea tendrils were a nice touch.

Elceed does interesting combinations that excite me although the flavours are subtle enough to hold broad appeal. As their confidence grows, I hope to see injections of bolder flavour to raise that bar even higher. I also hope I continue to get a seat! It seems word is getting out as more customers are there each time I visit. I'm so impressed by what Hannah, Bill and the Elceed team have accomplished in such a short space of time and I hope my heart keeps singing every visit.


Elceed on Urbanspoon 

3 comments:

  1. So grateful for this rec Ellise - I went today and totally loved it.

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  2. Love these guys!! They are the most passionate & friendly cafe owners I have ever seen & the food is to die for!!! Very proud & can't congratulate them enoughe!!

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  3. My children still ask after Hannah from her Corner Shop days - we're so thrilled for her as I've heard nothing but great things about Elceed.

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