Dead Man EspressoTweet Follow @MyAchingHead
There has been a massive amount of buzz since Dead Man Espresso opened on Market St in South Melbourne. There is a lot to love about this cafe, especially the staff and the coffee. But I’m in 2 minds about the menu. There are 2 menus, a reasonably limited brunch menu, served till 12 each weekday and all day on weekends and a lunch menu, served from 12 till 3 each week day. There is a bit of overlap between the 2, but the lunch menu is definitely a bit more diverse. Sadly, I only just realised it existed as it’s normally a weekend haunt. I’ll have to rectify that.
With the exception of the omelette of the day, the food is not your typical cafe fare. The menu is technical and refined and although each item is interesting, they aren’t long lived. Let me clarify, I’ve tried most of the brunch menu and feel as though I’ve exhausted all the options and unless the menu changes, probably won’t return for the food on the weekend. Thankfully, it seems like the lunch menu will keep me going for a little while longer.
There is no such problem with the coffee. There are 2 options for espresso, the Dead Man blend and the 7 Seeds blend. The Dead Man blend is super smooth, slightly sweet with a bit of berry coming through and the 7 Seeds blend is a much darker, regular style espresso blend.
Most of the single origins are sourced from 7 Seeds but the also regularly have guest appearances from Market Lane and Coffee Supreme. These coffees are available only as pour-over, but I suspect with a little cajoling the barista would pull them through the Synesso. This makes for a great range and doesn’t disappoint. The stand out is the Panama Esmeralda Geisha, this was the best coffee I’ve had for weeks. It had a full palate and a ridiculously oily texture with flavours of honeycomb and dark chocolate.
In a city where every coffee fiend is talking about the Slayer and ordering single-origin siphons, the focus on pour over is refreshing. It is a far more subtle style of coffee, with a very gentle texture which helps to highlight the subtle flavours of the beans. I think pour-over and siphons are the perfect way for people new to non-milk coffee to cut their teeth.
This is the sourdough, smoked salmon, avocado, mimolette and grapefruit salsa and a confit tomato. Sadly I didn’t get to taste this but I was assured it was amazing. The confit tomatoes are out of this world. It’s hard to describe but they have a beautifully fragrant flavour while still tasting like tomato.
The brioche french toast with grilled pineapple, bacon and sesame seed caramel (I added a confit tomato). This is possible the richest dish I have ever tasted. The caramel is dark, and quite acidic but works really well with the grilled pineapple and the bacon.
This is the deconstructed BLT. Pork belly and spinach puree on brioche with gazpacho. As with most dishes this is quite rich and very flavoursome. I’m not convinced pork belly belongs on a sandwich, I think it kind of hides the amazingness of the cut of meat and to some extent this deconstruction removed some of the great texture of a regular BLT. It is a really interesting take though and I would definitely recommend it.
Panzanella with pesto, smoked paprika sausages and poach eggs. This is an amazing dish, the bread has been lightly soaked in a light olive oil and slicing into the egg self sauces the salad. This is the star performer.
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