Now officially THE CLOSEST cafe to my house, I am delighted to announce that new Collingwood addition, Lemon, Middle and Orange does a decent dose of caffeine.
Secondarily, it is a few doors from my local watering hole, the Prince Patrick Hotel – so now I can trot directly from brunch to the pub. Score!
Kidding. (Sort of.) Of course Lemon, Middle and Orange (or “the citrus place”, as my housemate and I have taken to calling it) has benefits other than its proximity to the pub.
For instance: the decor. Originally an old paint factory, Lemon, Middle and Orange’s premises were dolled up by upstairs neighbours John Wardle Architects, next-door neighbours Spacecraft Studio, and branding-crew-to-the-hip-and-delicious, Projects of Imagination. It’s all pared-back blank surfaces of concrete, stainless steel, brick and loads of timber joinery – with touches of neon yellow and bright orange, naturally. (Incidentally, the cafe’s name refers to chrome pigments found on a sign during renovations. Good, ‘cos otherwise I couldn’t figure out the ‘middle’ bit at all.)
On its opening weekend, Lemon, Middle and Orange was abuzz with anticipation, and managed to pull through smoothly with few obvious teething problems. This may well be due to the combined expertise of owner-operators Margaret Lawless and Liam Ganley, former Auction Rooms chef Sam Morris, and a smiley barista who clearly knows what he’s doing on the custom yellow Marzocco.
Coffee is by Espresso Syndicate with rotating seasonal single origins from Clark St Roasters, and teas come from Storm in a Teacup. An interesting drink option is one of the flavoured hot chocolates from Grounded Pleasures: African red, orange infused, or french mint. Well, okay… if you insist.
The food is fancy without being over the top, with locally-sourced ingredients, surprising flavour combinations, and a pleasing ability to fill your belly. For example, I’ve had the coconut and vanilla rice pudding, baked stuffed apple, lemon syrup, anise toffee twice now, and twice been tantalised by the contrast of rich rice pudding, sweet toffee chunks, and astringent apple.
On my first visit, I tried the smoked sweetcorn and quinoa porridge, confit mushrooms, soft egg and toasted crumbs; on my second, poached duck egg, green beans, peas, pancetta, sourdough croutons.
I have found all to be aesthetically pleasing, fresh and tasty. Next up, I’d like to try something containing the black pudding.
My housemate is a fan of the “croquette of the day” and recently tried the egg and bacon breakfast roll – it seemed to hit the spot. Soda bread baked daily in-house is both a speciality and a nod to the owners’ Irish heritage.
Lemon, Middle and Orange is open seven days for breakfast and lunch, with a liquor licence application underway. Service to date has been efficient and polite.
As usual, I’ve been rubbish at taking photos while there, but much like my return visits to Gingerboy, Three Bags Full and the like, I anticipate (mainly due to the cafe’s proximity, but also the good impression it’s made so far) additional pics to be uploaded later. Stay tuned!