Sunday 16 March 2008

Café Issus – noisy crowd, good vegies

Saturday found us in the city and hungry. We headed for the bustling Centre Place and were glad to find a table in Issus. It is a place we have frequented on occasion for Saturday morning brunch. As usual E’s problem is that he must choose from many items on the menu while my decision-making is made easier by the few choices available to an egg-phobic vegetarian.

I chose the big vegie brekkie with baked beans instead of eggs. It came with beans, buttery spinach, soft avocado, grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms, crisp hash browns and sourdough toast. I couldn’t ask for more in a fry-up. I was pleased that the bread was not buttered and had a chewy crust but it could have been a little more substantial. But generally it was a pleasing combination. I also had a huge brandy balloon of freshly squeezed orange juice.

E was less happy with his choice and found the noisy atmosphere too overwhelming. It did seem more crowded than on other visits. The staff were quite busy and it was hard to get their attention, but service was pleasant and we weren’t kept waiting long. I was saddened that they have painted over the green walls and the walls are now orange and brown. I think the chairs have also changed to stools which I am not keen on. But I still like that it is open to the alleyway that is Centre Place and it does a good vegie breakfast.

It does make me wonder if Issus is a victim of the new-found popularity of Melbourne’s laneways or if it was bad luck to visit on such a busy day. More concerning is the changes to the graffiti and art boxes at the end of the lane by Centreway Arcade. They seem to have been boarded up as though the council is trying to discourage any creativity.

After our brunch, we had a browse in some shops and then visited the museum at the magnificant Old Treasury Building. It has beautiful historic interiors of wooden panelled doorways and chandeliers. The museum gave some insight into Melbourne’s history – Aboriginal people, the gold rush, boom and bust, Smellbourne, leisure and a wonderfully recreated 19th Century meeting room. Then there are the vaults in the basement and the recreated living quarters of the caretaker’s family. E loved some of the old gramophone records on display and I loved the panoramic photos of Melbourne from 1862 when the building was completed. If you are after the new, visit Café Issus, but if you want to see some of old Melbourne, I highly recommend this museum.

Café Issus
8 Centre Place
Melbourne City
Ph: (03) 9663 8844


  1. It looks beautiful. I feel as if, by reading your blog, I'm accumulating my own "must-see" list for when I finally visit Australia!

  2. thanks Ricki - Melbourne is a wonderful city which takes great pride in its food - you will love it!

  3. Ooh, I thought I knew Centre Place really well, but I've never heard of Cafe Issus before! I'll have to check it out next time I'm in the 'hood. :)

  4. thanks MM - strange you haven't seen it as it always seems one of the biggest places in Centre Place but maybe I just see it because we have been there quite a few times.


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