Brunch at Little Big Sugar Salt

Li was on the hunt to find a healthy cafe that would cater to Jo's diet. The top search on google for 'Melbourne's healthiest cafés' spawned a top 10 list on Concrete Playground's website that would appear to be the be all and end all of every ounce of goodness that our glorious state had on offer. Little Big Sugar Salt topped their list boasting of a sumptuous array of decent looking food. It sounded great - who doesn't like wholesome, tasty food anyway?

The heavens had decided to open up on the Saturday that we all decided to visit. The rain was pouring as JoJo and Grumpy Mate Rich sat in the car outside of LiLi's place. Jo had tried to warn her friend, but still, there was Li plodding along like a drowned cat towards the car.

The idea of having something hot to eat and drink became somewhat of a priority at that very moment in time and as soon as Li loaded herself into the car, we were off.

The cafe itself is a little bit of a stand out, considering it sits on a street lined with Vietnamese cafés and restaurants (a few of which, we intend to visit one day), but somehow, we managed to drive straight past it.

Look out for LBSS on the corner of Victoria and Lithgow Street - you honestly can't miss it.

Residing in what once was a pub and an accounting firm, LBSS' fit out feels like a cosy old home with a couple of rooms to house their diners in. It features up-cycled wood styled furniture (think long communal tables and pallet turned benches) and a shabby chic inspired interior with it's white and duck-egg blue scrubbed walls, tall ceilings and rustic deco. 

As you enter, you'll notice that the kitchen greets you - a little odd, but we kind of dig it. There were a few seats minding the windows whilst the coffees were being quickly churned at the counter/kitchen/paystation and all too soon, it started to feel a little cramped. We didn't really know what to do with ourselves as you're very much amidst the hustle and bustle of the staff and patrons with no one to really direct the flow of traffic and all you want to do is get out of the way. 

Eventually someone took charge and led us to our seats in one of the rooms.

We were promptly asked whether we would like any coffees whilst we reviewed the menu, as is custom amongst most coffee shops in Melbourne. After this, we waited for a good 15 minutes when we were seated in the back room which gave us a bit of time to appreciate our surroundings. We must commend LBSS on the use of their space because as we joined this very small room, three other parties were already happily enjoying their time. 

The menu was very interesting and quirky indeed. The main part separating the dishes into "Big Salt. Little Salt. Big Sugar. Little Sugar". Very convenient for the health conscious for sure! The drinks had quirky names and overall put a smile on your face because it was kind of dorky but cute. Have to say, it did take us quite a long time to be read out the specials and then to be served after that. After much deliberation (and waiting), our choices were as follows:

LiLi

Crumpets ($15)
Ask staff for the crumpets of the day. On this day: Honeyed ricotta, orange, toasted hazelnuts, dehydrated mandarin and vanilla honey

A Chai Called Quest ($4.50)

JoJo

Sweet Potato ($30.50)
Sticky kumara, kimchi, cashew cream, bacon, herbs and poached eggs
+Halloumi

Almond Malk Mocha ($4.50)

grumpy mate rich

Bun ($18) 
#1 Scram, Ham, hot sister relish and pickle
+Bacon

Almond Malk Mocha ($4.50)

Here is LiLi's a Chai called Quest. Not sure if there is some hidden story behind this. Is it a quest for Chai? What is Chai trying to achieve?

If it's a heart warming hello, then this Chai has achieved a pleasant welcome to LBSS. It's nothing fancy and just a simple good felt delight.

The Almond Malk Mocha was pretty substantial with a great deal of depth. Not too sure what was in this but there was some sort of spice that hit the back of your throat like very subtle chilli. A very different but welcome take on a mocha..

We were waiting for a little longer than expected for our food, although this could possibly be because they may have been at capacity that day. Looking around in our one little room, there were three full tables, with about 11 people total. Either way, we were starving by the time our food was set down in front of us and man, when it finally arrived, what a beautiful sight it all was.

Even this little breakfast burger was gorgeous. Here is Grumpy Mate Rich's Bun #1 with added bacon. Delicious scrambled eggs, ham, bacon, relish and pickle. Not that Rich enjoys pickles - he's weird like that. But, all of this stuffed into a brioche bun = an absolute treat.

Here is JoJo's sweet, Sweet Potato. A beautiful medley of sticky kumara, kimchi, cashew cream, herbs, bacon and poached eggs. Jo wanted to indulge a little more so added a side of grilled halloumi - a pretty good idea if you ask our faces.

This was excellent  A very well balanced dish with the natural sweetness of the kumara, the umami kimchi to cut through it. The cream added... well, creaminess.

Add bacon for some added saltiness and you've got yourself a pretty filling meal. 

The Crumpets resemble a short stack sunset mosaic in it's simpleness and perfection. Fashioning itself against a wide blue plate accentuates it's brightness and appeal.

Li was really looking forward to this house made delight and the waiter went into a full blown rave about the blue cheese sauce. Any cheese lover would be dying to try this dish. Unfortunately, the sauce was actually ricotta and honey which was a major let down but the crumpets tasted great all the same.

The fluffiness swept through every bite and the citrus from the orange balanced the sweetness and neutral texture of the ricotta cheese. With a bit of crunch from the hazelnut, they all came together for a creamy, earthy taste.

Going off the menu, I was pretty impressed with the selection and was looking forward to this experience. I had seen positive feedback about this cafe and it could only mean good things.

Straight off the bat, there was a warm welcome from the kitchen staff though there was a bit of chaos with no understanding of how their front of house worked. The kitchen blends in with their front counter and the main waitress was busy trying to finalise payments with other customers whilst making coffee. We weren't given any direction as to whether they heard us say we wanted a table for 3 and we felt like we were always in the way given the small space.

When we were finally seated, we shared a room with other guests and walking through it was evident this was an old house converted into a niche cafe. It is common to share your table with random strangers so you should be prepared if ever visiting.

Now, before we could look at the menu, we were asked for our drink order. Luckily we're predisposed to our common hot beverages so that order was a simple one at that. Chai latte for me is my main go to. It was alright but not the best I've ever had.

Next we weren't served for what seemed forever and were just waiting for anyone to come into the room to take our order. When someone finally came in, they read off some specials and pretty much sold me crumpets with a blue cheese sauce. This was a complete lie after I was served crumpets with a honey ricotta sauce. It was enjoyable and beautifully presented but the only reason I chose this dish was because I was sold the blue cheese sauce. Anyway, the crumpets were home made and fluffy, and the honey ricotta sauce was a consistent balance. Though to me, it wasn't anything special apart from the outstanding presentation.

LBSS could be better if they know how to handle the busy times they encounter. Also, not disappointing customers with false specials usually helps. I would go back to taste other items on the menu but I'm also not rushing to go back based on this experience.

Hands down a pretty good breakfast if we're focusing on the food.

I cannot recommend the Sweet Potato dish enough - go with the recommended additions of avocado and bacon if you can. I didn't opt for the avocado but I can totally see it working. I love halloumi so I had to add it as a side although I thought that $7 was a bit steep for the pleasure of fulfilling my craving.

My mocha was great. I've been drinking almond milk coffees for about a year and they work very well. This mocha was a different kettle of fish all together though - a great winter warmer with the secret spices.

The interior was very shabby chic - I'm a sucker for the distressed, cozy spaces that most of these cafés boast. I loved the white washed walls in the hallway and the duck egg blue of our particular room. We even had a fire place which just added warmth to our room. 

Unfortunately this warmth did not translate as well to the customer service we received. As LiLi described, even our introduction to LBSS was confusing and it may just have been to do with the layout of the café or the fact that there were people leaving to pay. I actually had gone down the hallway as it wasn't clear whether we needed to seat ourselves, only to be called back by the waitress. 

We also encountered a little bit of a wait time and to LiLi's disappointment, a little bit of misinformation which led to her being a little more than disappointment when she couldn't pick up the blue cheese and really quite disappointment when she checked in with the waiter as we were paying to enquire what was in the sauce. He went off to ask the chef and then came back to confirm that it was honey and ricotta.

Come as a small group after peak times for Saturday brunch after a big night out. If you come as a group, make sure to call to see if they take bookings. The food won't disappoint - there is some real talent in the kitchen.

 

LILI'S RATING

Food and Drink: ★★★★☆
Interior: ★★★☆☆
Customer Service: ★★★☆☆
General Atmosphere: ★★★☆☆
Value for Money: ★★★☆☆

OVERALL: ★★★☆☆

JoJo's RATING

Food and Drink: ★★★★☆
Interior: ★★★☆☆
Customer Service: ★★★☆☆
General Atmosphere: ★★★☆☆
Value for Money: ★★★☆☆

OVERALL: ★★★☆☆

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Little Big Sugar Salt
★★★☆☆

Address: 385 Victoria Street, Abbotsford, Melbourne, VIC 3067
Opening Hours: Mon - Fri 07:30 - 15:30; Sat - Sun 08:00-15:30
Contact: (03) 9427 8818; website
Social Media: facebook; instagram; twitter

Little Big Sugar Salt Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato