Down a narrow Melbourne laneway between brick buildings, as so many cafes used to be (but have now trended to being in the ground floors of new apartment blocks), is Krimper. The pink sign over the door is visible but barely legible from a distance, so you likely still wouldn’t find it unless you knew what you were looking for.
The inside is bare, aged brick, and aged timber struts. The wooden tables, metal-framed chairs with a slight vinyl padding at the seat and back, and the conical glass lightshades take you back to an older era. While their site describes it as creating the sense of a warm and welcoming hearth, it actually feels hard-edged and bare.
We were there early in the morning, almost just as they began serving food. There were already a couple of other people there to pick up coffees en route to work. We were greeted as soon as we poked our heads in through the door, and quickly shown in. Given that it was mostly empty, we had the choice of sitting just about anywhere. We chose to sit in a sort of semi-private booth, in what looked like an old elevator box (actually a lift car). It was a bit like an interrogation room..
We were brought water and menus pretty promptly. The menu has breakfast and lunch sections, and a couple of specials are written on chalkboards near the counter. There is a reasonable range of options in both areas.
The matcha latte was pretty good. It had the rounded, roasted, nutty flavour a matcha anything should have, without tasting bitter or burned.
The flat white also went well.
The pulled pork baonedict was a fusion dish, with pulled pork in a steamed bao bun to wrap it in, as you get the fatty pork with in some Chinese restaurants. Along with that were a couple of poached eggs with hollandaise sauce. The yolks were, of course, runny. The pork was listed in the menu as being stout-braised, but it had more of the flavour of sweet soy sauce, with the balance being towards the sweet side. It was cooked so that it had sinewy texture without being tough or dry. There was also spinach that took up about a third of the bun filling. There was an initial conundrum about whether to eat the dish with fingers or utensils. The poached eggs made it not really suitable for hands, as there wasn’t a way to incorporate the egg without making a mess once the yolks started oozing. Dissection with fork and knife ended up being the only functional option, although once again the yolks took some managing to keep confined to the tray. (See previous post on Grilling Art for brief rant about the fad of using flat serving dishes for anything with sauce that tries to escape.)
The frittata with chorizo, smoked paprika, confit capsicum, and cherry tomatoes came in a pan hot from the oven. It was dense, with plenty of the component ingredients. The Turkish bread was toasted so that the edges were crusty, and it went well with scoops of the frittata. The only problem with the dish was that the pan smelled strongly metallic, and imparted that odour to the food.
The beetroot and gin cured salmon was had by another friend, and was described as tasting “healthy”. It seems to be a light start if you’re looking for something to power you through the day, and isn’t really a generous serve for $20.
Service was alright, neither poor nor stellar.
Overall, not bad, but there were issues with all the dishes.
Price point: Breakfast items $8 from basic toast or museli to $20 for the salmon. Lunch items $10 for a sandwich, other items $16-21.
Address: 20 Guildford Lane, Melbourne
Phone: 03 9043 8844