A more modest tour of Melbourne’s culinary scene was in order after two previous visits involving a mashing of touristic objectives and to also fulfil our hunger for food delights in the coffee capital of Australia. We’re taken to Three Bags Full on Nicholson Street in Abbotsford on the outskirts of Melbourne on recommendation by some friends and it was here where I enjoyed, by far, the most amazing chicken schnitzel sandwich ever.
There are cafe’s that litter itself all across the Melbourne landscape however in Abbotsford, a predominantly Vietnamese suburb, we find them more to be scarce. Some twists, turns and a lot of pointing around, we find Three Bags Full only by its modest glass doors. Located inside an emptied warehouse, there is an industrial chic and quirky design to the entire cafe. A four metre long communal table sits in the centre of the small space and random road signs and artworks give the ambience an eclectic feel as a waitress greets us quickly at the door and we’re shown to our seats immediately.
We’re here for brunch, and as one would have it, our group of six vary in their choices between breakfast and lunch items on the menu. I immediately eye the sandwiches on the lunch menu and after some careful deliberating with the others and we agree to try out the free range chicken schnitzel and black angus steak sandwich. Tempted to succumb to the top quality coffee in Melbourne, the two of us opt for fresh juice instead with Jue selecting the watermelon, strawberry, apple and mint juice whilst I prefer myself to the pineapple, pear and basil.
The cafe seems reasonably full with very few seats left vacated, with the general chatter of the lunch-time crowd beginning to grow as a queue begins to form outside the door. The food takes a little while to come out but considering how busy it appears, we weren’t too fussed. The chicken schnitzel provides a simple combination of ingredients but what appears to be of the highest quality - the chicken is moist in contrast to so many schnitzels that are found to be too dry, served with coleslaw and cheese on sourdough. However, what makes it pack a punch is the aioli which provides a subtle tang to the mayonnaise, finished off by the crisp freshness of the coleslaw.
Jue’s steak sandwich tastes more of what’s expected and I instantly signify my preference for the chicken schnitzel after sinking my teeth in. The porterhouse beef was a tad chewy and I had trouble separating part of it without taking the entire piece of steak with me after one attempt, definitely not for those who prefer to have their sandwiches in a civilised manner. It’s complemented by bacon, beetroot relish, cheese, aioli and finished off with rocket and tomato - perhaps not my most favourite sandwich due to the overwhelming flavour of the steak. We wash down both sandwiches with our juice, both providing a very fresh concoction of fruits, neither too disappointing, yet we disagree again on our preferences of which we would rather have with our meals.
The locality and design of the cafe typifies that of the growing number of niche cafe’s being established in Melbourne and its surrounding suburbs, most commonly now being driven by a large pool of young entrepreneurs doing their own things. The menu provides enough choices for you to ponder over and not too much for you to be overwhelmed, giving you enough to say that you will be back again to try some more. If anything, a cafe like this in the suburbs down the road from me and I’d be a very very happy person.
Three Bags Full
Corner of Nicholson St and Mollison St, Abbotsford
Tel: 03 94212732
Hours: Monday to Friday - 7am to 5pm; weekends & public holidays - 8am to 5pm
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