Stagger Lee’s – Vintage Cool

panda 4 rating

stagger lee

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Menu:
Stagger Lee's Menu
Stagger Lees Drinks

It was a long awaited catch-up for the four of us – G, J, M and myself – and we decided to stick to something that was central between the four of us. This place happened to be Stagger Lee’s – located on Brunswick Street in Fitzroy.  I have heard many good things about this place ever since it opened up and was keen to check it out for myself.

Stagger Lee’s is brought to you by the people of Proud Mary – it is a collaboration between Proud Mary owner Nolan Hirte, former Proud Mary general Manager Monica Chhay, Head Chef Chris Hamburger (ex The Aylesbury, St Ali North) and Mun Soon of MGS Architects and owner of Krimper Cafe (refer to https://thegrazingpanda.wordpress.com/2013/08/26/krimper-cafe-hidden-warehouse-style-treasure/ for my blog review of Krimper Cafe).

Stagger Lee’s is named after a pimp / bad-ass from St Louis – he infamously shot a cell mate in the 1900s for stealing his red Stetson hat and since this time over 400 musicians have retold the story of Stagger Lee. Here at Stagger Lee – this story reinforces the fact to “stick to your guns” and to “stand up for yourself” and most importantly are being the “bad-ass” of Ftizroy when it comes to great coffee and ingenious food.

The vibe is typical of what you would expect of the Brunswick / Fitzroy area – but with a whole lot more fun and excitement. There are exposed brick walls, concrete floors and huge glass windows which let the morning sunlight stream in. It’s a bit industrial, a bit indie – but rest assured feels welcoming and warm. There are wooden slatted tables for parties of varying sizes, as well as two large communal tables at the front – paired with metal chairs. There is both inside and Outside Street seating as well – they utilise their space well in terms of catering as many seats as possible without being too squishy. There are splashes of green thanks to the weatherboard effect around the kitchen window at the back of the venue, as well as the salt and pepper grinders placed on the tables and the coffee cups by the coffee machine. There are the usual filament lights that hang for lighting that I love as well.

The coffee here is a little bit different – they do not serve blends – only single origin espresso and filter coffees are being offered – and are pumped out of the stark white Synesso machine. They also use a EK 43 grinder which means they are getting the best extractions possible for the customers – allowing them to deliver some of the best coffee in town. I ordered a latte which was full bodied, strong and nutty and was perfect to wake me up first thing in the morning. The creamy after taste thanks to the fresh milk was also great. The decision not to blend comes from the work Proud Mary has been doing with the farms in Brazil and the quality of the single origin beans that work well with the milk without needing to be blended – and from my experience with their coffees this is working fantastically.

Another difference from Proud Mary is that they have a liquor license and look to open a few nights a week down the track.  They serve up wine, local and international beers and specially made cocktails – there is even one that contains cold drip coffee! Aside from specialising in coffee – they do also have an interesting list of juices, smoothies and milkshakes – with interesting names to match. Juices include Lance Armstrong (Carrot, Beetroot, Lemon, Ginger) and The Regulate (Apples, Strawberries, Coconut Water), there is a milkshake called Gangsta Milkshake, Crooks ‘n’ Creams – which is of course based on cookies and cream.

The food menu designed by Chris Hamburger (what a cool name!) is described as simple and sexy comfort food – and it really does comply.  The menu is split into a breakfast and lunch menu – both of which are available all day and there are gltuten-free, vegan and vegetarian options. There are dishes that covers all the main protein dishes that you would want to eat including lamb, bacon, beef, quail, chorizo and ham hock. From reading the menu you might not think these dishes really cut it – but trust me they do! There are your usual suspects such as Toast, Fruit Toast, Bircher Muesli, Granola and Porridge – but what makes it unique is the offerings that come with these basics. For example the porridge is buckwheat porridge together with chia, banana and honey. The first dish that caught my eye was the Coco Pop and Salted Caramel French Toast – I mean they had me at Coco Pop! The four of us quickly decided to share this amongst ourselves, thereby reserving some space for a proper savoury breakfast (and trying out more of the menu – win!). There are also dishes such as Shrooms ‘n’ Truffles which comes with Truffled Polenta, Poached Egg and Pepito, a Roasted Cauliflower and Quail dish, a Roasted Lamb dish that comes with Humms, Raisins and Toast as well as a Stacked Burger that comes with croquettes and greens.

When we arrived on this Sunday morning (around 10:30am) Stagger Lee’s was packed out already and we had to wait about 10 minutes for a table for the four of us. Initially we were given an area on the communal table all in a row – which would have made it hard for us to chat. However the staff had miscounted the number of seats and promptly moved us to a table which suited us better – making it easier for us to chat. Most of us ordered coffees to start and G ordered a juice whilst we decided what we wanted to eat. G ordered the Nice Pear – Apple, Pear, Mint, Lime. Juices come served in a generous size jar, with two big fresh mint leaves for more flavour- the juice was refreshing, tangy and produced a great flavour combination. M ordered the Frank ‘n’ Beans – Saffron Baked Beans, Smoked Ham Hock, Chorizo, Soft Poached Egg, Herb and Garlic Crumb Toast. The dish comes out presented well – the saffron baked beans together with the ham hock are at the base of the dish, with the poached egg and chorizo placed on top and finished with the garlic crumb toast. The Garlic Crumb Toast smelt and looked delicious – crispy on the outside and soft and filled with flavour on the inside. M seemed to enjoy her dish and the flavours – the poached egg was cooked to perfection with golden gooey goodness.

G originally ordered The Mexican – Soft Shell Corn Tortillas, Charred Corn, Lime and Tomatillo Salsa, Avocado, Fried Eggs, Creme Fraiche, Herbs. However, she has an allergic reaction to sesame seeds and some nuts, and although I don’t think that this dish had any of that, she started to get a reaction and therefore had to order something else. The dish came plated out with two tortillas, with the fried egg placed in side and topped with the charred corn, lime and tomatillo salsa and avocado, and finished with crème fraiche. The flavours were typically Mexican and the addition of the fried egg with its gooey runny yolk gave it the breakfast element.

J ordered the Smoked Trout Salad – House Smoked Ocean Trout, Grilled Asparagus, Soft Poached Egg, Butter Poached Potatoes, Shaved Fennel, Preserved Lemon Aioli and Green Goddess – which was quite the colourful dish thanks to the salmon colour of the ocean trout, purple colour of the radicchio, green colour of the salad and the white colour of the poached egg and lemon aioli. J did enjoy this dish and rated it better than The Mexican – the smokiness of the trout, together with the grilled asparagus and brilliance of the poached egg was a winner.

I ordered the The Fitz Royale – Grilled Asparagus, Cashew Cheese, Avocado, Fresh Herbs, Pea Tendrils and Citrus with a Poached Egg. The dish comes out with the fresh herbs being the centre of attention on the plate – the other components – toast, cashew cheese, avocado, grilled asparagus hidden underneath. The poached egg and the lemon slice are placed to the side. My favourite part of this dish was the cashew cheese which was placed like a spread on the toast – it was tangy and creamy all at the same time. Together with the subtle flavours of the asparagus and the softness of the avocado the flavours worked in perfect harmony. A great dish for asparagus lovers.

The last dish that we all got to sample was the Coco Pop and Salted Caramel French Toast – Coco Pop Cream Pat, Vanilla Ice Cream, Honeycomb and Raspberry Crumb. I don’t think much explaining needs to be done to understand how good a dish it really was. The plating wasn’t as clean as I had expected, as the Coco Pop Cream Pat resembled a messy blob, but I guess the consistency and texture of it didn’t help. I loved the mix of textures from the softness of the toast, cream pat and ice cream mixed together with the harder and grittier textures in the form of the tangy raspberry crumb, sweetness of the honeycomb and the pop of the cocoa pops sprinkled around. Overall I thought the flavours worked well together (I would have liked more raspberry crumb) – and was a great colourful dish that was the perfect way to end our meal at Stagger Lee’s.

The staff are quite accommodating and helpful, but are hard to get a hold of due to the sheer number of people they have to cater for. However, the wait to get their attention wasn’t too long. If you get a seat near the back of the venue – you can peer into the kitchen window and watch the chefs busily keeping up with the incoming orders. Even with the volume of orders –they keep a cool, calm and collected exterior and get on with the job.

There are also sweet treats that you can purchase from the counter – lamingtons, cupcakes, tarts and friands just to name a few.

Stagger Lee’s is a great addition to the grungy Fitzroy area and brings a somewhat homely and funky venue here. The vibe is buzzing, the place is warm, the menu is simple and unique and the staff friendly and always with a smile. Get down this weekend and check it out for yourself. The next time I come back – I am definitely trying the Shrooms ‘n’ Mushrooms.

Rating : 4 Pandas
Price: $$
Menu – There is an all day breakfast and lunch menu – refer above to the pictures or look at http://staggerlees.com.au/food/
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Funky, Casual and Welcoming – a great place that you can spend of your day in.
Standout Dish:
Service: Friendly, sometimes it can be hard to their attention.
Online Booking: No
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://staggerlees.com.au/
276 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Tel No: 9419 5564

Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday: 7am – 4pm
Saturday & Sunday: 8am – 4pm

Stagger Lee's on Urbanspoon

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Common Galaxia – Out of this World

panda 3.5 rating

I had heard a lot about Common Galaxia and had been wanting to check it out for a while – so when a catchup needed to be organised and J lived nearby – it was the perfect opportunity! Common Galaxia is owned initially by Luke Mutton and Kylie Mackinlay who also own Deadman Espresso in South Melbourne, but now bought by Paul Fox. Common Galaxia is located in Seddon and its main focus is on coffee – with coffee from Seven Seeds and Market Lane. The food though is not just an after thought – there is a huge variety and the dishes we had were scrumptious.

Common Galaxia has a fantastic vibe from the moment you step foot inside – the look is modern, classy and stylish. The furniture and fittings are all custom-made with functionality at the forefront. The interior was built by Fido Projects. One of the stand outs are the cutlery and menu caddies that hang individually from the tables (so that you can help yourself if you need more cutlery or happen to drop your cutlery) as well as the leather and timber chairs – both of which are made my locals LifeSpaceJourney. The coffee machine is Synesso and is the centre piece of the bench which also houses quick take away options such as smorrebrod (Scandinavian open sandwiches). To the right of the main counter is a window which allows you insight to the kitchen and is where all the food comes from. The running theme of the venue is wood with copper pots, terraniums, dark bottles with colourful flowers and funky black light fittings with filament lightbulbs dotted along the way together with the light coming in from the large windows which surround the venue.

There is usually a line to get a table and this morning was no different – but our wait was quite short – about 10 minutes to get a table for four. We started off by ordering coffees whilst we pondered over the menu. My latte was delicious and had a combination of a fruity and nutty taste – a taste that you kept going back more for.

The menu is broken up into Breakfast, Brunch which you can order all day, Lunch as well as options for the kids called “For the littles”. There are also options for Vegetarian and Gluten Free. Drinks compromise of Coffee, Tea, Fresh Juices, Smoothies, Cold Drinks and Milkshakes. The smoothie combinations are intriguing – combinations such as Kale, Parsley, Lemon Zest, Mango, Banana and Coconut Water as well as a Mixed Berry, Coconut water and Honey combination. Fresh juices consist of pre made mixes or you can create your own. There is also an option of having a peanut butter hot chocolate as well as a chocolate brownie milkshake.

Breakfast dishes are what you would usually expect – but with a Common Galaxia twist – adding interesting ingredients to the basics. There are scones, crossiants, toast, fruit toast and Bircher muesli – as well an interesting concept called the Breakkie Board (more on this later). The all day brunch menu consists of scrambled eggs, their version of Egg’s Benedict, Common Galaxia Big Breakfast as well as smoked salmon dish.

It was food decision time and I was tossing up between the French toast and the avocado dish, but J decided to get the French toast so I went with ordering the Avocado with Blood Orange, Marinated Goat’s Cheese, Basil, Almonds and Radish on Toast with a Poached Egg. The dish was plated up well with the toast being at the base of the dish and the avocado mix placed on top and finished with parsley and a poached egg and a wedge of lemon on the side. The avocado combined with the blood orange and goat’s cheese together with the crunchiness of the almonds was tasty. The serving was generous and the poached egg was cooked perfectly. All in all it was a great dish.

G ordered the Smoked Salmon on Sourdough with Spicy Avocado Puree, 2 Poached Eggs with Tomato and Herb Salad. This dish was quite the colourful dish, especially against the black backdrop of the plate. The spicy avocado puree was buttered on the toast with the smoked salmon and tomato and herb salad on top, and the two poached eggs as the final layer. G did enjoy the dish but thought the spicy avocado was an acquired taste, but overall the combination was interesting and worked well together.

B ordered the Breakkie Board – Museli, Poached Egg with Avocado on Whole Wheat and Honey Toast, Small Fresh Orange Juice. I really do like the concepts of Breakkie boards as it comes with a small selection of things that you would want for breakfast such as toast, eggs and muesli. The bonus of freshly squeezed orange juice completes the dish.

As mentioned before J ordered the Salted Caramel French Toast with Blood Orange Curd, Oreo Crumble and Blueberry Compote. When this dish came out it was really impressive – the berry compote was drizzled at the bottom and acted like a soup, with the French Toast on top drizzled with Salted Caramel and finished with the Oreo Crumble. The dish was overly sweet, but the berry compote was a great addition to cut some of this sweetness and add tanginess to it. There was a generous amount of blueberries and salted caramel on the side as well. For anyone that loves French toast this is a dish to try.

Common Galaxia is a fresh, lively and vibrant addition to this area of Seddon that serves great coffee and good food! The interior with its wooden and black tones and accents of plants and flowers is fantastic. The staff are friendly and look like they are enjoying themselves at work which always a great attitude to have. I would highly recommend the trek down to this suburb and whilst you are at it visit nearby Cobb Lane.

Rating : 3.5 Pandas
Price: $$
Menu – Refer to http://commongalaxia.com.au/menu/
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Casual, Chilled out, Modern and Inviting. Such a great place to be on a sunny day especially with the sunlight streaming in through the windows.
Standout Dish: Salted Caramel French Toast with Blood Orange Curd, Oreo Crumble and Blueberry Compote
Service: Friendly and Inviting. The staff look like they really enjoy what they do and are always chirpy and happy.
Online Booking: No
Restaurant Details and Location:
commongalaxia.com.au
Shop 3, 130 Victoria Street, Seddon
Tel No: 9691 3888

Opening Hours:
Tuesday to Friday: 7:30 am – 4:00 pm
Saturday & Sunday: 8:00 am – 4:00 pm

Common Galaxia on Urbanspoon