Children of the eighties will hear the name of this cafe and instantly be transported back to the time when they sat, cross legged with their siblings on the loungeroom floor, patiently waiting as a cassette tape loaded on their trusty Commodore 64. But here in Port Melbourne, Balderdash is more than just a pixilated, retro, computer character who casually taps his little spotted foot if left waiting. It’s a fabulous little cafe which serves an avocado smash that makes you want to French kiss the plate.
A leisurely stroll up from the beach and you hit Coles. Keep going, you’re not there yet. Soon enough though, you do reach Balderdash with its whitewashed walls and you’ll think to yourself, “uh, was Robyn drunk when she wrote that review? This place looks dull as, homie” (feel free to replace ‘homie’ with a more appropriate word depending on the company you are keeping. In short, don’t call Aunty Mavis a ‘homie’). But not this time! It does look a bit dreary on the outisde though, so you’ll just have to trust me on this one.
There are few tables to choose from, but the expected share table is there and houses months of out-of-date Frankie magazines, speaking volumes of the people who work and frequent here. Please don’t read one if you’re a 24 year old boy in board shorts. It won’t do you any favours with the ladies.
I tucked myself into a corner of the share table and pretended to read the Fin Review (like everyone else does). Wonderfully, the folk here serve everyone pretty darn quickly and with a genuine smile, but don’t expect super hot coffee (it sits on the cooler side of hot). Because I have pretty much given up trying to find a hot coffee in Melbourne I no longer feel the need to rant about it. I have lost this battle. You win, cafes of Melbourne. Serve your cold coffee – see if I care!
I do love a cafe that takes breakfast seriously enough to offer a ‘specials’ menu. Squeeee! Specials! However, I never order off them for fear that I’ll review a dish that is so good it literally blows my head off my shoulders but then judgers go there and it’s not on the menu anymore (and I don’t have a head). So, with this in mind I asked the waitress what she recommends. She said the ‘avocado, lime and goats cheese on Turkish bread, topped with a soft poached egg…and bacon on the side of course’. Of course. I expected slices of avocado, some chunks of crumbled cheese and a mass produced boiled egg slapped on the side. Yawn. I mean really, what is there to do with these ingredients? Yes, they’re all great and I occasionally wonder if I could swap one of my cats for the perfect avocado, but really – it’s an avocado. Don’t write home about it.
However, when the meal did arrive I was surprised that the avocado, lime, and goats cheese were all smashed together. It was like what an avocado and a cow would give birth to should they ever be able. But not in a weird way. A good way.
The mashing of all three items took away the typical overwhelming creaminess of the avocado and replaced it with this fresh, tart, cheesy concoction which livened up the perfectly poached egg. The dish came with a little moat of delightful olive oil and balsamic, which mixed together with everything else to make a mad hatter-style tea party in my mouth. And the bacon. Ohhhh, the bacon. A generous pile of it tittered on the side of the plate and was cooked just the right amount that it remained juicy, but not wobbly. Oh, how I love you bacon. Welcome back to my tummy.
The beauty of Balderdash is that it offers a solid menu, but they have been able to freshen up the traditional fare to make it the perfect dining spot not so near the beach, but close enough for you to think you could walk it comfortably, but then get there and wish you had driven.
This place is a cracker, and I would definitely take my Aunty Mavis there, homies.