Seven Seeds review: Breakfast Out

Published 20 November 2012
View original review at Breakfast Out


Seventh heaven

It’s a rare beast of a cafe that you can recommend to almost anyone without hesitation. In a city chock-full of great daytime eateries, Seven Seeds sets the bar high on every level, from service and decor to food and – above all – coffee. Opened in 2007 by Mark Dundon (of St Ali fame) and Bridget Amor, Seven Seeds has secured its reputation as one of the best cafes in Melbourne and is in no danger of slipping any time soon. It forms the heart of Dundon’s growing empire, which includes De Clieu in Fitzroy and Brother Baba Budan in the city, and roasts beans for countless other cafes around Australia.

Coffee is serious business at Seven Seeds. As well as the cafe, the spacious warehouse conversion houses a room for private tastings, a retail counter, a temperature-controlled coffee storage space and a roasting facility, which produces Seven Seeds’ own house blend. Seven Seeds sources single origin and guest blends from around the world, which, along with its house blend, are served in the cafe through top-of-the-line espresso machines (including the awesomely named Slayer 2.0) and filter methods such as Aeropress, Cold Drip and Syphon. It goes without saying that the coffee here is excellent, but you won’t feel out of place if you think Slayer is a band and a cold drip is something that happens to your nose in winter.

There’s no doubt that coffee is king at Seven Seeds, but it’s not at the expense of good food. The all-day, seasonal menu pays tribute to many different regional cuisines (sometimes within the same dish) without making your head spin. The unifying theme is top quality ingredients, whether used in a Vietnamese noodle salad or a fancy ham and cheese toastie. Yes, you can have toast and spreads, but it’ll be organic quinoa and soy sourdough with Jam Lady preserves ($7). And you won’t find any rubbery, vinegar-doused poached eggs here – the perfectly gooey free-range eggs are cooked sous-vide in the shell for an hour.

By the same token, there’s nothing run-of-the-mill about the scrambled eggs ($17), which are subtly infused with white miso, topped with coriander, spring onion and a mild green chilli Sambal, and served on warm, crispy paratha roti. Equally fresh and tasty is the house-cured salmon on toasted rye bread ($16) with paper-thin ribbons of zucchini, pinenut gremolata and smoked yoghurt. For the never-ending takeaway coffee brigade, there’s now a great selection of sandwiches ($7ish) to go with the tempting array of cakes, biscuits and pastries.

Seven Seeds is almost always busy but there is order amidst the chaos. The whole place works like a well-oiled Slayer 2.0, pumping out food and drink with admirable speed and finesse. Nobody likes to queue for breakfast but you might make an exception here – it’s worth the wait and you won’t wait long.