An Italian cafe reminiscent of the self-serve cafeteria at Roma’s Termini station. That’s what Brunetti’s said to me. In only six days in the artsy city, I graced this landmark cafe three times. To be fair, on the last occasion I was meeting a Melbourne friend for coffee and it was an easy place to find. Familiarity and all that.
On the first occasion Prince and I were doing the Lygon St limbo in search of a lunch spot, when we spied this massive emporium with a bewitching cake counter. We can’t eat cake before lunch, can we? Can we? No, we should eat lunch first. Besides, how good do these pizzas look?
Porcini pizza. Now that was irresistible. Porcinis have been one of my favourite foods since a trip to Italy in 2006 when I ate my way through plates and plates of fresh porcinis. No other mushroom comes close to these tasty heights. I bring back giant bags of the dried variety home when I go to Europe, so seeing the fresh version on a pizza made this ole heart soar. Oh my. Just look at those mushrooms with fresh rosemary and a generous melty mozzarella and pecorino topping. It was porcini heaven. I do not lie.
HRH went for the salami and pesto pizza and scoffed a piece of mine to boot. Now Prince is a tiny fellow but he can put away some hefty plates of food. I look at a plate and gain a kilo. Where’s the justice in that?
You order your food and drinks at the counters, and collect your drinks at the circle station in the middle of the cafe. This station just keeps churning out coffees and drinks all day long.
Prince and I were too stuffed to appreciate dessert after that carb overload, so we returned to Brunetti’s the next day for afternoon tea.
Fortunately this cafe offers small cakes for $2.50 so this means you get to try more. In my case this was two, but of course my royal friend managed to scoff down three cakes.
And a pannacotta.
The New York cheesecake and lemon tart were hits with Prince but he wasn’t thrilled with the chocolate cannoli. His pannacotta was pedestrian. My NY cheesecake was delicious and the perfect size for such a rich dessert. My second choice, a salted caramel mini eclair, had not a whiff of salted caramel flavour, and I was disappointed at having wasted a dessert opportunity on something mediocre.
This place is open from breakfast right through to late dinner. It’s a massive industrial-type space, with tables inside and spilling out into the arcade next door and onto the front pavement. There’s a constant bustle of activity, and although it all seems quite formulaic, it’s worth a visit for a cake and coffee, if nothing else. But I really do recommend the porcini pizza. Buonissimo.