I have a confession to make. I originally walked straight past Middle Fish, as I laboured under the misapprehension that it was just a generic cafe attempting to capitalise on the success of its near neighbour – the ever popular Seven Seeds. How wrong I was.
On closer inspection, Middle Fish offers something quite different to other eateries in Carlton. This refectory has two significant drawcards: a menu consisting of authentic Southern Thai street-food style dishes along with truly boast-worthy coffee.
The specific attention afforded to coffee is credited to the brainchild behind Middle Fish, Siriporn 'Pla' Liamthong, who has previously worked at Outpost and Sensory Lab. Given the focus on affordable quality, the caffeinated beverages served at Middle Fish are made with Five Senses beans. A diverse mix of juices, teas and Phoenix soft drinks are also on hand for those wishing to avoid caffeine dependency.
Middle Fish is a marvellous choice for Melburnians wanting to broaden their brunch horizons. Wholesome Thai omelettes, hearty curries and refreshing noodle salads stand in place of fry-ups and focaccias. For those wanting more than savoury and spice, sweeter options are also available. The fried roti bread with banana, condensed milk and sesame seeds is a surprising and scrumptious alternative to pancakes and French toast.
Middle Fish simply cannot be described without mention of its exquisite interior design. Pla and partner David Holtum have done a wonderful job in converting an old warehouse into a very chic yet casual open-plan dining space. Elaborate light fixtures, art work and plant life now all paint the canvas of exposed brick walls. The varied and comfy seating options include leather-clad booths, wooden tables for couples and groups alike, as well as couches complete with cushions. As a personal touch, freshly cut flowers in recycled jars adorn the tables. The light-filled and airy nature of the space make it a glorious spot to while away a few lazy hours, whether curled up with a book or chatting away with friends. Furthermore, the staff are attentive and very friendly, which contributes to the calm and pleasant atmosphere at Middle Fish.
Middle Fish only just opened its doors in December of last year. Yet, with the high quality of its food, service and ambiance, it is unlikely to stay a secret for much longer.