Rather than hitting the usual inner city hot spots which have reviews that are a dime a dozen, I’ve made it a mantra to discover eateries of a relatively uncommercial nature. One winter morning, I eagerly accept a friend’s invitation for Sunday brunch at The Train Yard Heidelberg.
The decor that immediately grabs my immature attention are the quirky, Ratatouille-esque cartoons sprawled across the walls, leading the OCD in me to trace around the edges with my eyes endlessly until vertigo hits.
Light wood features hold fort in the centre of the room, contrasting with the familiar, comforting noise of bells chiming and milk whooshing and bubbling as the barista cheerily greets old regulars coming in with their families.
White slatted shutters frame one end of the room, gentle morning sun peeking through, while colourful teacups form a rainbow which contrasts with the light wooden slats of the window.
The poached pear and blue cheese salad decides to knock on the door to my cravings. This morning, I’m in the mood for a bit of fun.
A forkful of everything smashed into the mouth reveals a myriad of flavours which pop up out of the woodwork, making this a salad which is not like most others.
The Train Yard Heidelberg has ensured the poached pear remains the hero of the dish with fruit that not only retains its natural juices, but also holds the delicate sweetness of honey glaze which, along with raindrops of raisins scattered along the terrain reduces the usual oppressive bluntness of the blue cheese – the presence of which renders a subtle creaminess in both flavour and texture.
Walnuts add sonorous crunch, while slivers of radish form a sinus-clearing backdrop amidst a foundation of sour leaves and explosive dashes of acidity from the cherry tomatoes.
This is a complex, multi-layered dish which has been well-thought out and executed painstakingly.
At first the combination of this dish seems stock standard: avocado, feta, smoked salmon, okay then, yawn, ho-hum.
However when a new, magical ingredient is added – in this case, sweet relish- an ordinary breakfast staple is transformed into a dish which cuts the sourness of feta and meshes with the creamy delicateness of avocado and citrusy salmon.
I’m happy with this combination minus the added poached egg. Some may argue it provides extra dimension, personally I think it over-complicates things.
The Scotch burger initially appears underwhelming in appearance, as the amount of filling inside hardly extends to the circumference of the bun. If there’s one thing I despise in restaurants, it’s stinginess (this also extends to pizza toppings – take note, Italian Restaurants of Melbourne).
I grudgingly take a bite and immediately break into a grin, half-masticated food toppling out of my mouth and onto the table. My date looks disturbed. “Can’t take her anywhere… “
The buttery sweetness of the hamburger bun complements the pillowy softness of the meat, astride which holds a negligible amount of intoxicatingly warm, melted cheese. Rather than being all carbs, the burger manages to hero the usual burger elements but in a way that fits each piece together perfectly, even if visually the whole thing looks a bit off.
The entire dish is a joy to eat and I have the feeling this dish has been tested a few times to ascertain the perfect ratio of ingredients to maximise each flavour.
I’ve just found my new hangover bestie.
The Train Yard Heidelberg is what I like to call an ‘Old Faithful’ – you know you’re in for a good time, with easygoing, high quality produce and a familiarity to the cafe which is immediately endearing.
Prices are in line with the usual brunch offerings – however the difference being a genuine effort has been made to conceptualise interesting dishes with combinations of ingredients that bring out the best in each dish, rather than remaining an ordinary suburban cafe churning out bacon and eggs for the masses.
Service 8, Food, 9.
The Train Yard Heidelberg is located at 184 Burgundy Street,Heidelberg, Melbourne.