156 Pakington Street Kew, Victoria 3101
|Opening hours||Mon-Fri 7am-4pm; Sat-Sun 8am-4pm|
|Chef||Suzie Wilton and Joe Davey|
|Phone||03 9855 2002|
Jam roly-poly is one of those evocative dishes from a childhood most of us never had: school dinners and fagging and wistful Edwardian readings (remember the naughty kitten in a Beatrix Potter tale who almost gets turned into jam roly-poly by a couple of enterprising rats?) How English: a suet pudding spread with jam, rolled up (cooked in an old shirt sleeve, please) and doused in warm custard ... the only time I ever ate it was when a friend in London took me to a traditional caff for a fry-up many years ago, and boy, it was good.
Recently I spotted jam roly-poly on the Facebook page of Ora, a little specialty coffee haunt in a Kew side street that also happens to have one of Melbourne's most creative breakfast menus (they won the best food award in this year's Age Good Cafe Guide).
Ora's chefs, Suzie Wilton and Joe Davey, work seasonal ingredients into intriguing-sounding and carefully plated combinations. The beetroot terrine ($17) is a good example: a careful section of beetroot set with orange and horseradish, with a tangle of fennel, parsley, radicchio, pickled grapes and rye croutons providing a crunchy bittersweet contrast to the earthy beetroot and some tangy goat's cheese.
One of the most popular dishes is spiced tiffin egg ($18, with nostalgic echoes of someone else's never-was childhood): two halves of a soft-boiled scotch egg (in a cumin-infused cashew crumb) perching on a mound of Bombay hash – diced potatoes cooked to toothy softness and gently spiced with saffron, turmeric and mustard seed, with a little kasundi on the side for tomatoey tang, and a crunchy salad of pickled cauliflower florets and dill fronds.
With an intro like that, you know the jam roly-poly ($16) is going to be, let's say, tweaked: and it is. The roly-poly bit is a baked pastry rolled around blackberry jam, with a crisp crust and a nice crumbly inside. A little pot of creme anglaise to pour over the whole thing sits on the plate beside an array of "toffee apples": little balls of just-poached apple infused with blackberry, with tiny mint leaves and a scatter of sugary crushed candy. This is Ora's sweet-breakfast alternative to pancakes and waffles, but it could be the dessert round of a two-course brekkie (who says no to that?).
Also excellent is the coffee, house roasted under their Maker label and presented as single origins chosen for milk, black espresso and filter brewing: one thing that's not an echo of school days, Tom Brown's or anyone else's.