With a large sign proclaiming "Melbourne's Best Big Breakfast" for $15 – coffee included – Food Inc. knows how to get me in the morning. I've been here more than a few times for the big brekky, and each time I've come away feeling satisfied, happy, and perhaps just a little too full (I can't help myself, a plate that isn't clean feels like failure). While I can't corroborate whether it's the best big brekky in all of Melbourne, I can say it's the best to be had at Melbourne Central. Plus, it's filling, fast, and $15.
Located at the Elizabeth Street entrance to Melbourne Central, Food Inc. holds a prime position to watch the street and tempt passersby. Their alley coffee cart is well-placed for the many time-poor commuters rushing past, and there is plenty of indoor and outdoor seating for those with a little more time. The building is made from more marble than seems reasonable, giving it a nicely chilled atmosphere. When I rock in at 10.27am, the place is half full. I'm taken straight to my seat by the girl whose sole job is to stand out front and welcome people. She tells me she'll get a menu and a waitress, but I say "I know what I want" and immediately a waitress appears to take my order – "Big breakfast, gluten free toast, scrambled eggs, with a latte" and it's as easy as that. At 10.30 on the dot I get my latte, and I begin to feel good about the day.
Food Inc. coffee is nothing fancy to look at, but it hits my spots. It is chocolately and acidic, oh so chocolatey. I feel foolish, sipping coffee as I scribble on my notepad. I'm even wearing one of those saggy hipster beanies. Well, when in Melbourne… *sip*
A plesant few minutes later, my breakfast arrives, and I get stuck into this bad boy:
Bacon is always my first priority, but I'm soon distracted by the hash brown, remembering not to make the mistake of leaving it to the end like last time – no, those need eating fast, while they're hot and crispy. Mmm, I love me a hash brown.
Next I start on the 2 small sausages, complimented by mouthfuls of bacon and eggs. I love their scrambled eggs here – they're always done just the way I like them, thoroughly cooked, not gooey but not overdone, with a hefty garnish of parsley. The token 'vegetable' is a quarter piece of tomato, which is a nice refresher after a few rashers of bacon. The gluten free bread is grainy in an attempt to make it taste like real bread, and it plays an okay supporting role – GF bread is never the star of a meal.
Towards the end, I'm thinking there's ALMOST too much bacon. But don't be silly, there's no such thing! I finish the 5th and last piece of bacon with a reserved mouthful of eggs, and boom, that's all I can take. I leave some toast behind because with that much bacon, compromises needed to be made.
For those who frequent Melbourne Central, you might notice that the next restaurant along this alley way, Spiga Bar, also advertises a $14.95 big breakfast. I've tried this one too, and it's a poor second to next door. It looks nicer, but with that comes smaller plates and serves, yet the food isn't any better. It has a few more veggies, and a 'home-made' hash brown versus the standard one Food Inc. serves up, but the portions aren't filling and the eggs and bacon are disappointing. Also, they leave their sign out until well into the afternoon, but they stop serving the big breakfast at around noon. At Food Inc., you're covered all day. Because any time of day is a good time for a whopping big breakfast and coffee, especially for $15.