In today’s society of “Freakshakes”, “Cronuts” and “Superfood Breakfast Salads seasoned with the tears of a mythical unicorn”, it can be easy to forget just how wonderful simple, quality breakfast ingredients can be.
Gastrology was invited to Cecconis, an Italian restaurant on the Paris end of Flinders Lane, to sample its new spring breakfast menu, designed and developed by owner/operator Maria Bortolotto, available Monday to Friday from 7.30am.
The restaurant itself is the definition of Italian elegance. Located slightly below ground level, diners descend an elegant stairwell towards the warm, glowing brasserie where white table cloths top tables which are surrounded bu high backed leather chairs.
The open-style kitchen prep area can be seen from the entry way, and at the marble bar, which is well stocked with Italian wine and Campari, sits a basket of freshly baked breads and muffins, ready and waiting for the day’s visitors.
Even at 7.30am, Cecconis retains its enticing, moody, evening ambience. It’s the smell of freshly brewed coffees and pastries that are the only real giveaway that it is only breakfast time.
The soy lattes are creamy, smooth and well balanced– a true testament to a skilled barista who would no doubt prefer diners stuck to luscious, full cream milk; the best ingredient of a classic, white coffee, aside from the bean itself.
But trends have in fact permeated the classic Italian eatery. The breakfast feast begins with freshly squeezed blood orange juice, served from an old-style glass milk bottle. The restaurant is a stage for Victoria’s seasonal ingredients with much of the produce coming from the restaurant’s farm in Lorne.
The first meal is Paleo Granola with almond milk. A dish inspired by Maria’s recent transition to the paleo diet (a powerful move for a woman that spends her day surrounded by some of the best pasta in Melbourne). Made up of nuts, seeds, coconut, dried fruit and spices topped with fresh berries, the bowl is a picture of health. Decorated with edible flowers; it is as tasty as it is beautiful.
The breakfast antipasto plates arrive soon after; a representation of the ingredients that make up much of the remainder of the menu. Designed for sharing, the antipasto plate can be shared between two people and is a generous and hearty way to kick-start the day. It is here we are reminded of the simple beauty and exquisite taste of standalone, authentic Italian ingredients: fresh prosciutto, crunchy sourdough bread, juicy tomatoes doused in olive oil, velvety goats cheese feta, bright green avocado and creamy scrambled eggs.
No trends here, just provincial European flavours that are enhanced by Cecconis preference for locally sourced and seasonal produce. Available on the platter, or ensconced in a variety of other breakfast style dishes, the Cecconis hot breakfasts are classic and refined.
It’s the eggs that are a true revelation. Combined with chives and parmesan, and immensely silky, they are the best scrambles we have tasted around Melbourne in a long time. As we scrape our eggs bowls clean, two freshly baked muffins are placed in front of each place card to take with us for mid-morning snack.
Thanks Cecconis, you most definitely know how to spoil.