Review / Food & Drink

Neighbourhood favourite serves up the goods

A Brunswick original continues to attract regulars with simple formula

A waitress serves customers at Brunswick cafe A Minor Place.

Brunswick Voice

AFTER occupying the same corner of Albion and Barrow streets for close to two decades, A Minor Place has earnt the right to be called a Brunswick institution. 

It was one of the first and most enduring of the back street eateries that are now synonymous with the suburb, serving good coffee and wholesome food in a low-key setting always accompanied by a fine musical soundtrack. 

Hootan Heydari and Jono Hill opened the café in 2004 in a modest weatherboard shopfront with little more than a coffee machine and a couple of small tables, but within a few years had expanded into the adjacent house and since then A Minor Place has never looked back. While neither of the original owners are still involved in A Minor Place, Heydari has gone on to operate Wide Open Road in Barkly Street, Carlton’s Heartattack and Vine, and most recently, Brunswick West wine bar Shabooh Shoobah. 

The most recent modification has been the addition of more covered outdoor seating in what was previously the backyard along with new toilets to replace the internal bathroom which had been retained from the house (imagine a share house with combined toilet, shower and laundry). 

During the lockdowns in 2020 and 2022, the wide side window on Barrow Street became an essential stop for the local neighbourhood to order their takeaway coffees each morning. 

Perhaps the best time to pay a visit is for a weekday breakfast, when the place is full of creative types hunched over their laptops, perhaps writing the next Great Australian Novel, or more likely using the free wifi to update their social media profile. 

On weekends, the café is teeming with customers taking advantage of the all-day brunch, while dogs lounge at the feet of their owners sitting at tables on the footpath. 

Indulge yourself with a breakfast burger containing bacon, scrambled or fried eggs, spinach and jalapeno relish within a milk bun, or for a healthier start to the day, try the house bircher made up of coconut yoghurt, mango lime and mint compote, fresh berries and toasted macadamia and coconut flakes. 

Much of the menu has a Middle Eastern flavour, including a sprawling breakfast which features fried eggs, feta, roasted cauliflower, beetroot, tabouli, sumac yoghurt, pomengranate and dukkah on flat bread.  

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After disappearing for a period, the signature dish of Henry’s Beans (creamy white beans sprinkled with dukkah and served with rocket and poached eggs on toast) is back on the menu, but there are other favourites including advocado on toast, which comes with grilled haloumi, pickled carrot and pomegranate seeds, and the B.L.A.T./H.L.A.T., the latter featuring haloumi. 

For something more substantial, try the bratwurst eggs benedict or steak sandwich. 

As well as excellent coffee from Fitzroy-based roasters Industry Beans, the menu has freshly made juices, thick shakes and smoothies, along with a small selection of cocktails including a wickedly spicy Bloody Mary garnished with pickled gherkins and olives. 

Most dishes are priced between $15 and $20. 

While the service can sometimes be a little too casual – it is not unknown to need to visit the counter to remind the staff that you are waiting to place a food order – it is always friendly and helpful. 

A Minor Place, 103 Albion Street, Brunswick. Monday-Friday 8am-2.30pm; Saturday & Sunday 8am-3pm. Ph: 9384 3131