‘Specializing in generous portions and darn good coffee, Cafe AMBA proves to be the golden child of Chapel Street’
Look up the word ‘stressful’ and you’ll see a description along the lines of being stuck behind a slow walker along Chapel street, on a busy Saturday afternoon, whilst trying to look for a new pair of jeans. I’m literally sweating bullets just thinking about it. But nestled in the amongst one of the stylish streets in Melbourne, there’s hope. Hope in the form of a golden bar with 4 letters.
Situated opposite the Jam Factory and shoulder to shoulder with the trendy retail shops of Chapel, it’s easy to mislabel this cafe (minus the outdoor seating and coffee in the window). But past the glimmering ray of hope hanging outside, It’s actually the interior of this little gem that’s a real treat to the eye. Packed with natural lighting from the back courtyard and quite frankly lots more gold, this eatery is bursting with class and character.
Yep, an entire wall of reflective gold. Kinda makes you wanna try a platform 9 ¾ and run straight through it right? Just me? Okay, time to taste.
With their seasonally changing menu and all day breakfast options, Cafe AMBA offers plenty of classics we know and love, each with their own unique twist. From Chilli Herb Scrambled Eggs ($16) and Tom Yum Soup ($8/$10) right through to Massaman Curry with Rice ($15.50), these guys have really mastered the art of variety. Naturally my interpretation of a casual brunch was to pick one option from breakfast and one from lunch. So let’s tuck in!
The Bad Hunter ($17)
‘Poached Eggs, Tomato, Truffled Mushrooms, Spinach, Avocado, Haloumi on Sourdough Toast’
Besides the questionable title, this pick was a no-brainer. Haloumi? Truffled Mushrooms?? Just take my money! On the whole this dish was actually really delicious. The Mushrooms were soft, silky and gently wrapped in a gorgeous twang of truffle. The Haloumi had a nice crispy coating which emphasized it’s soft and pleasantly squeaky inside. I also loved the addition of the lemon wedge, a nice dash of acidity to cut through the creaminess of the avocado.
‘There’s too many photos of egg yolk floating around the internet these days’ – said nobody ever.
Porterhouse Steak Sandwich ($17)
‘With Onion Jam, Beetroot Mayo, Gruyere, Tomato and Flat Chips’
You know what I love about this? The choice of steak. Not only is Porterhouse a personal favourite of mine, but I love that they’ve opted for a thick cut in contrast to the slithers of Flank or Minute steaks we too often see. Cafe AMBA offer a steak sandwich and a steak is exactly what you get. Let’s take a closer look.
The twist they played on this dish came in the form of the onion, where traditional steak sandwiches call for caramelized or grilled onions. The onion jam offered a sweet balance to the beautifully creamy yet slightly tart beetroot mayo. The melt in your mouth gruyere just emphasized that creaminess and oozed over the steak like a dream.
Walking down Chapel and stumbling across our friends at Cafe AMBA may just feel like a dream altogether. From the spacious and charming decor to the thoughtful and original menu, this eatery could definitely be the lunch break you called for. The menu itself may sway towards the slightly pricier side of things, but you’ll be sure to leave pleasantly stuffed with their generous portions. And hey, if you do brunch like I do you won’t be needing those new jeans anyway!
Address: 497 Chapel St, South Yarra, VIC 3141
Hours: Monday/Thursday: 7:30am – 4pm | Friday/Saturday/Sunday: 8:30am – 5pm
Instagram: @cafe_amba (HTML – https://www.instagram.com/cafe_amba/)
Facebook: @cafeamba (HTML – https://www.facebook.com/cafeamba/)