Melbourne Culinary Journey: Brunch at Mr Tulk

I’m back in Kuala Lumpur again and this time with a few extra pounds. I tend to lose my willpower when it comes to holidays. But one wise man once said: “Don’t waste your calories on bad food”, and I think I am a prime example of that. Heh.

So I thought about how to journalise our culinary trip to Melbourne and I’ve decided to somewhat group them together. And since my favourite meal of the day is the all important brunch, I’ll start with that.

My ultimate weakness is a perfectly poached eggs with bright orange runny yolk. You see it’s hard to find good eggs in Malaysia. The egg yolks are usually a shade of pathetic pale yellow. And you know what that means. Unhappy Hens. I suspect the even so called free range eggs here means that the hens are only occasionally released from their cage to roam around. Blerh. And ordering poached eggs here would be akin to a chemical experiment done by primary school children. Just don’t bother.

Enter Mr Tulk, a busy cafe located within the Majestic State Library. The cafe is named after the first state librarian, Augustus Tulk and offers one of the best coffees I’ve tasted during this trip in Melbourne. (I could be biased because that was my first cup of latte after a few months.) Usually patronised by RMIT students, bookworms, or generally people who works around the area, the proximity to Melbourne central means you also get the tourists too. Funnily enough, over so many years in Melbourne I’ve never actually ordered food from there. And I’m kicking myself for that.

I managed a quick drop in for breakfast on a lovely Saturday morning on my own before rushing off to a wedding rehearsal. It wasn’t the peak time yet so seats were easy to find. Upon scanning the menu, it wasn’t a easy decision because I wanted to try EVERYTHING, especially the baked eggs, and the smashed avocado on toast. I decided on the Corn beef hash with Poached Eggs though because I’ve seen this on Libby‘s blog and was already making a mental note to order.

The latte arrived first, and despite the lack of latte art my first sip was full of sunshine and happiness. I’d describe the taste as 3-dimensional, as it’s full bodied with a slight cocoa undertone. I don’t claim to be a coffee expert and nor do I know the difference from one bean to another, but this was good. Frank ordered 3 on our second visit. But then again, he’s just crazy.

Halfway through my latte, this was presented to me.

Corn Beef Hash with Poached Eggs and Dijon Mustard

Just look at the eggs! So round and perfect and wait til you see the inside! Despite the seemingly small portion, it was quite filling. I love combination of the super crispy exterior with fluffy texture of the potato, laced with solid pieces of the mild tasting corn beef. Although the end that’s nesting on the dijon mustard was a little too salty. A little mustard goes a long way, I think. And the eggs! I’ll just show you a picture and you can see for yourself.

Glorious looking egg yolk! Perfection. You could also see the bits of corn beef amongst the fluffy looking potato mash.

Needless to say, this made me a very happy girl, even with the sleep deprivation.

We returned for a second visit couple of days later, because I had to bring Frank with me. This time the cafe was at full capacity and we had to wait a little while for a wee space on the communal table. It was bursting with life and the noise level was just a little high, but largely welcome due to the miserable rainy weather outside.

This time I’ve ordered from the special board and chose Mushrooms, Polenta and Poached egg (yes again) with addition of bacon. And Frank ordered the Gnocchi with Tomatoes, Parmesan and Ricotta, along with his 3 cups of latte. After the Corn Beef Hash, I simply did not expect the portion to be this big.

Mushrooms, Polenta, Poached Egg and Bacons

This dish was absolutely perfect for a cold day. The mushrooms were cooked in a delicious concoction of what I suspect either wine or verjuice, herbs and maybe a little stock (was too busy gobbling the dish down to dissect and take note). It was amazingly fragrant. The polenta really surprised me. The outside stayed crispy including the bottom part which has been resting on liquid, and the inside was buttery and soft. I want to know where they get their bacon too. Perfectly cooked, cuts like a tender steak because of the thickness and juicy with clean flavour. I guess it’s organic. Egg was once again poached to perfection.

Gnocchi with Tomatoes, Parmesan and Ricotta

This is a prime example of how simple food could be one of the most pleasurable. The gnocchi was to our expectation, pillowy and melts in the mouth. You could taste mostly the fresh and natural sweet tomato flavour, straight forward and you know it’s all because of the quality of the produce. I didn’t get to taste the ricotta though. Frank finished this in no time at all.

The service both times were efficient, and attentive. I can’t fault anything at all. I just wish we could stay a little longer to sample the WHOLE menu. We are both still thinking of that avocado on toast. No prize guessing which cafe would be our first in our next trip.
Mr Tulk on Urbanspoon

Next up: Birdman Eating

All photos taken with my Samsung Galaxy S2. 

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6 thoughts on “Melbourne Culinary Journey: Brunch at Mr Tulk

  1. Welcome home 🙂 I saw pictures on your facebook seems like lots of fun and an amazing wedding ~
    Sigh i know what you mean 😛 I’ve been gaining so much weight since coming to HK not good >_< but i bet it's all worth it!
    these photos are pretty good considering they were taken from your phone ~ I've never heard of Mr Tulk but I sure want to go check it out soon!
    When are you coming back to Melb again? We've gotta catch up 😀

      1. Totally agree sighh i need to eat more at home 😛 Definitely gonna check it out when I come back ~ let me know when you’re back next would love to meet you in person! And even though I can’t sing hahaha we could go to kareoki together :p

  2. Mr Tulk seems to have been around forever. So many people I know have heard of it.

    Beautiful food. Nice mix of people. Coffee from heaven. Brilliant service.

    Not a thing wrong with this place. It’s one of the first we will return to on next trip to Melbourne.

    The music, which is so important to me, was background and non-intrusive. The sound of happy, excited, intelligent chatter was more obvious. Makes for a fluffier and cooler buzz.

    I would rate this as a serious 10/10.

    Sorry about that word ‘fluffier’. Had to stick it in.

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