Currently living in Melbourne and eating out as much as physically possible, Arti Rajput is a travel writer and a contemporary fiction author.
St Kilda, Melbourne
St Kilda is backpacker haven in Melbourne but also a popular haunt for expats and like-minded Melbournians. This suburb may have endless places to brunch, but The Dispensary sets itself apart. Located at 13 Brighton Road, St Kilda, it is true to its name. Decked out as a medical dispensary, they’ve crossed their T’s and dotted their I’s when it comes to décor.
The concept behind this well-thought-through theme is that the first combined dispensary and clinic in the British Empire was opened here. Australians put everyone else to shame when it comes to brunch and Melbourne is the top dog. With a quaint bench and pillows outside, The Dispensary makes it known that this is a coastal suburb. You may be a longer walk away from the sea, but the exclusivity of this location along with outdoor seating all has a charm of its own.
I went for a cliché Sunday brunch with a few friends and the Melbourne weather held-up all morning. The rain started before we left, but sheltered by their big umbrellas, it was quite an enjoyable experience sitting outside. Inside the establishment you will find a tray with newspapers and the menus placed in a first aid box, making it feel like a waiting room but keeping a spacious, well-lighted feel. On the counter there are appetising pastries and muffins, with tiny flags in them. I dare you to resist.
The Dispensary is an exciting place to eat, simply because it’s more pleasing to the eye. Not only is the décor astounding, but the food has merit of its own. Who wants avo and eggs, when you can try a new combo or something a little more spontaneous and exciting, like the suburb itself?
Stand Out Brunches
A few of the things that stood out for us on the menu were the ‘Veggie Breakfast Roll’, with avocado and feta, egg, rocket and hollandaise sauce for $11.90. Hollandaise sauce is a staple with eggs. The richness adds to many dishes. The zest in the hollandaise sauce complements the avocado. Note to self: it will get messy the minute you sink your teeth into the roll but you can always lick off the drops down your arms. Spillage is ‘lickage’, after all.
‘Dukkah Eggs’, with smashed avocado and feta, poached eggs, Egyptian dukkah and coriander on sourdough for $18.90. I’ve never tried dukkah eggs before. Dukkah is an Egyptian spice made up of herbs, nuts and other spices. Typically used as a dip, here the eggs are poached and have the spice dusted over the top.
‘Corn Fritters’, with bacon, avocado and feta, coriander and truss tomato for $18.50. You can add a poached egg for $2.00. The corn fritters are light and not doughy, like most others. It makes for a messy but delicious eat. The poached egg is a must, it’s a shame that you need to add it on as an extra but make sure you do. The avocado is seasoned with a hint of lemon juice that gives an extra punch to the taste buds. Normally my friend skips any additional sauces, but the homemade tomato sauce it’s served with is already a great companion to the mouth-watering dish. Her favourite brunch meal since arriving in Melbourne.
I’d never heard of half of these breakfast combinations until coming to Melbourne. The Dispensary takes it up a notch with flavours. You can’t go to brunch in St Kilda without ordering yourself a drink to go with it. I opted for the malted chocolate milkshake for $6.50, which didn’t last long because it was too good to stop. The others also had a smooth ‘Mango Elixir’ smoothie and a coffee. Both cold drinks going down well in the heat.
This great brunch spot serves itself well for a day when you want to get away from the St Kilda crowds, but not too far. If you go on a Sunday, have a relaxing morning eating-out at The Dispensary, then head on down to the St Kilda Esplanade for their bustling Sunday market.