Marmalade and Soul is the latest establishment to enter the cuisine foray on the eclectic Queens Parade in Fitzroy Hill. Me and my fellow breakfast enthusiast housemates were eager to break out of the Bell Jar/Mixed Business cycle that is our weekend lives (although I’ve gone a bit cold on the ol’ Bell Jar of late – more on that later). Located in a heritage-listed building, adorned with oversized cans of anchovies and tomatoes and huge glass jars of meringues and coconut ice, Marmalade and Soul is an inviting environment to walk into.
I’ve heard good things about Marmalade and Soul. Chef Raymond Capaldi’s resume isn’t to be sneezed at (Capaldi’s joint venture with Masterchef’s Gary Mehigan, Fenix, has been a resounding success and has become somewhat of an institution in the Melbourne food scene), and his experience, coupled with positive critique and an interesting menu, had me anticipating delicious results with high expectations.
True to Capaldi form, the breakfast menu was traditional with an avant garde twist – caramelised orange and olive cake with maple bacon and burnt orange custard adorned the menu, along with cassoulet, Spanish breakfast soup and a range of egg dishes – the latter which I always go for, of course. I chose the beaten egg with wild herbs, goat’s cheese sauce and olive oil and ordered bacon on the side.
Now, either my waitress, who recommended the dish, doesn’t know anything about food or Marmalade and Soul needs to oust the chef on breakfast duties, because the beaten egg was surprisingly nothing to write home about.
Rather than a soft and fluffy dish with a light goat’s cheese sauce that I was expecting, the dish tasted and resembled over-cooked scrambled eggs served in its own residue, tinted by the wild herbs it had been cooked with. The toast came undercooked and the bacon wasn’t of the smoky high-quality variety that one comes to expect when paying a certain price at a breakfast joint on the north side. As my housemate exclaimed post-unsatisfactory egg experience, a breakfast establishment shouldn’t venture into the complex if they haven’t yet nailed the basics.
But look, even taking into account the pretty disappointing breakfast dish, their lunch/dinner menu looks amazing and I’ll definitely be giving Marmalade and Soul a second shot. Their service was nice, their coffee was good and they had chandeliers adorned with wooden spoons – apart from needing to buy some more reliable egg timers, what’s not to love?