Mart is my "Cheers" - that familiar homing ground where everybody knows your name.
True, this may not be ideal at 8am, pre-hairbrush and pre-caffeine, when there's a desire to remain incognito until one's more human traits finally kick in. However, it's nice to step off the plane from London into a local coffee shop and be remembered fondly for the hardy caffeine addict that you are.
The Peanut Gallery and I have not lived in Melbourne for over 3 years, but every time we return to our former local breakfast haunt at the Middle Park tram stop (Mart is "tram" spelt backwards) it's so lovely to be greeted by our favourite cafe owner (the super fabulous Dan), talk about the snow in London and gaze out over Albert Park as the sun streams in through the gum trees.
Inside the old station master's building has been converted with a gorgeous shabby chic decor, and is filled with the aroma of freshly brewed coffee and crackling bacon. Outside is a casual decking laden with wooden tables overlooking the park, where the smell of eucalyptus wafts freely. And all this is a 10 minute walk from the beach and a 10 minute tram ride from the heart of the city.
The coffee (Genovese, I love you) is sensational, and the food is delicious. After our first night's (ok, 3 hours) jetlaggey sleep in Melbourne this holiday, I woke up at 3am that first morning dreaming of Mart's corn fritters with sour cream, bacon, relish and coriander. They had to be had. It was a long few hours wait until the doors opened.... But, oh so worth it.
(Yes, you've seen the above but you need to see them again)
These corn fritters kick the butts of any others I've had - even those at London's Providores. Juicy, plump corn, amazing relish, perfectly fried bacon - all stacked up in generous amounts. Helloooo Melbourne.
TPG had the deliciously runny poached eggs and bacon with thick slices of crunchy toast. And there's plenty of other options, ranging from healthy granola/fruit salad combos to stuff-it-all-I-need-bacon-and-I-need-it-now seductions to delight and tempt you, right down to the simple Vegemite on Turkish toast which is one of my staples.
Yes, of course we had more than 1 coffee. And OJ. And when can we come back for breakfast again?
Open for breakfast daily (I find it hard to force myself to try anywhere else), and is also great for lunch - fabulous salads, sandwiches, toasties, pastas etc - or a big slab of cake for afternoon tea. Then walk it all off with a stroll around the lake, or a jaunt at the beach. Then go back for more...
Mart 130, 107a Canterbury Road, Middle Park, Melbourne