Saturday, June 11, 2005

Degraves Espresso, Melbourne

As much as I hate to admit it, I think Degraves Espresso, Degraves Street, Melbourne, Tel +61 3 9654 1245, is past its prime. It still sets the standard for grungy lane-way cool, but the scrambled eggs are no longer the best brekky contender I used to think they were.

Which is not to say that my scrambles were bad. It was a very large serve of well-scrambled eggs with no wetness or separation to spoil the show. But it lacked the light, creamy edge of somewhere like Bills, and it wasn't quite as buttery as I remember from previous visits. Indeed, thinking about the generous sides of bacon and mushrooms (both good but not great), it's hard to avoid the conclusion that quantity trumps quality in the current Degraves kitchen.

With its cramped collection of fold-down theatre chairs and wonky desks, securing a good spot is always a challenge. My favorite is the window bar, which lets you ponder the morning papers or perve on the passing foot traffic, as you prefer.

Degraves has a crew of designer-scruffy staff whose service is friendly and efficient most of the time. They do, however, have a tendency to forget the odd detail, which can be frustrating. The coffee, however, is consistently very good.

15/20 "window seat, please"


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