Union St Brewers
Union St Brewers is built for sunny days. When the weather is good the glass folding doors are pushed open, the sun streams in and the diners inside enjoy a breezy view onto the terrace houses and native trees surrounding Jewell Station.
The menu tends to change, but has consistent American leanings with a French finesse throughout – dishes may come with slivers of asparagus or caramelised onion, with generous lashings of hollandaise, or even brûléed. A main-stayer is the dense, slightly sour Montreal-style bagel (served in a set of two) with rotating toppings: maybe mustard and pastrami or a shmear of cream cheese with chives. Adventurous eaters should try the shrimp and grits – a savoury-sweet fry-up with maple syrup, shrimp paste and beef jerky that will either cure your hangover or just tip you over the edge.
Owned by Ramez Abdulnour (who also has Prospect Espresso and Drugstore Espresso) Union St Brewers ticks off elements of the Melbourne-cafe zeitgeist: white tiles, hanging plants, cold drip on display. There are some interesting variations, though. The wall lined with single-sized, round tables is a nice touch – a good spot for solo coffee drinkers who want to sit for a minute while waiting for the train. A rotating list of pressed juices is also a nice wake-up alternative to a morning coffee.