Visiting Seven Seeds gives you a sense of what it was like when Alice fell down the rabbit hole. You will most likely walk past it several times before realising it’s there, because an industrial door and some grey-blue bricks carefully disguise it. But once you make the discovery and push through that heavy door, you are welcomed into a new world.
This hidden Carlton café is drenched in natural light and provides cosy comfort despite its high ceilings and raw redbrick walls. There is a dim murmur of chatter and the indoor bike rack gives you a clue as to its chief clientele. The atmosphere is noticeably unpretentious as diners of all ages, backgrounds and coffee knowledge fill the communal dining tables. This setup allows the numerous solitary diners, many of whom have their faces lit up by a MacBook or iPad, feel as though they are not alone.
The team at Seven Seeds specialise in coffee and upon a trip to the bathroom you can catch a glimpse of their onsite micro roaster. Filter lovers can enjoy the house-roasted beans as a batch brew, while traditionalists can enjoy a lovingly crafted espresso or cappuccino. The beans are selected seasonally to make your cuppa as tasty as possible. This makes them a popular brew across Melbourne as they are found in Seven Seeds’ sister stores Brother Baba Budan and Traveller, and can be sampled in other brunch spots throughout the city such as Assembly, Common Galaxia and A Little Bird Told Me.
Like the coffee, the menu at Seven Seeds changes regularly to take advantage of fresh seasonal produce. With only three lunch options, it is clear that breakfast is their speciality. The addition of chickpeas to their baked eggs makes the rustic dish even heartier, whilst the restrained use of tomato sauce allows the flavour of the chorizo, capsicum and ricotta to shine. However, the eggs are almost outshined by the generous slice of sourdough from Bakery Lievito that accompanies them, as the bread’s crusty exterior and moist crater-ridden interior make it a delight of its own. The handmade crumpets, sourced from Dr Marty’s, have a crisp outer-crunch whilst remaining light on the inside, and are accompanied by lightly toasted hazelnuts and perfectly balanced coffee-infused butter and coffee caramel. This dish toes the line of being dessert for breakfast, but the lightness of the crumpets and use of coffee to cut through the sweetness of the caramel are intelligent ways of getting the balance just right.
Despite its cunning disguise, Seven Seeds is one of the worst-kept secrets in Melbourne. The numerous tables fill quickly and the queue for a seat builds steadily from 9:30 a.m. But it seems as though people are happy to wait as the warm surroundings promise diners a comforting meal as a reward for their patience.