Shop 2, 347 St George’s Road has seen a thing or two. Once, it housed a wine merchant. Then, fly-fishermen bought tackle there. Later, Labor faithful tended the light on the Fitzroy North hill. These days, it’s home to Maillard, Melbourne’s first toast bar (not to be confused with our existing toast cafe, Crompton Coffee in Richmond). “It has had a lot of history,” says co-owner, Zoran Pajic, shrugging. “And I guess it continues.”
Self-described young professionals, Pajic and partner Lauren Komel hit on the idea via an episode of This American Life, which detailed Giulietta Carrelli’s Trouble Coffee & Coconut Club, a San Fran cafe that sparked a wave of … well, toast. “We’d been speaking about doing something little,” says Komel. “Carrelli wanted to do food that made her feel good: so coffee, and thick slices of toast with butter and cinnamon. We chose things like that.”
D.O.C. Pizza, for instance, was a shared favourite, so the pair paid homage with San Danielle prosciutto, San Marzano tomato, buffalo mozzarella and basil toast. There’s also a dulce de leche, mascarpone and pink salt version, and another with tahini, honey and pistachio.
The bread, obviously, is an all-important ingredient – Ed’s Breads is supplying the loaves. “We really liked the look of it,” says Komel. “I wanted something with a high-top, something that was almost cartoon-like.”
Maillard’s fit-out speaks to its owners’ Euro-Melburnian heritage, with gold lettering printed on the windows, white timber panelling, a roughly cut wooden counter and artfully stacked pomodoro cans. Most striking, though, are the hairy lambskins draped lazily over the seats. Komel explains: “It had to have character.”