With the onslaught of Americana in the inner north's dining scene (think Gumbo Kitchen, Belle's Diner, Huxtaburger), you'd be forgiven for thinking that Young Bloods was another ode to the retro American dream. Fortunately, it's a different strain of diner. The newest addition to the Rose Street Artists' Market, Young Bloods is bright and breezy — a very fitting homage to the creative attitudes, ideas and people that frequent the space and the suburb.
Gone is the makeshift, yet much loved, hole-in-the wall market cafe, and in its place is a modern, light dining space. The impressive design means that, while there are essentially three different dining areas, the space still feels intimate and connected. The main room, outside courtyard and rooftop are right in the thick of the market, with an inside/outside layout that is enclosed, yet can be opened right up when the sun is shining. The space is exceptionally well put-together, from the sheet metal to the artwork and yellow-tiled bar.
The food strays from typical Melbourne brunch fare, which is much welcomed in a culture that can become quite repetitive. Eggs here aren't poached; they're coddled (in cream) with your choice of interesting accompaniments such as Ortiz anchovy and parmesan ($14) or confit duck and beans ($15). Also on the menu is the buckwheat porridge with rhubarb, sour cherries and pistachio (which would be a healthy choice if it wasn’t also topped with cream; $9) and the kedgeree — curried rice with confit ocean trout and coriander ($15) — is an interesting addition to the breakfast menu.
Larger plates fill out the menu come lunchtime, with choices such as the linguine with clams and bacon ($17) and short rib gratin with greens and fried eggs ($18) perfect for those with larger appetites. With a selection of well-presented salads ($14-15) and even a few desserts, the menu offers much more than just bunch. The fact that the venue is licensed also means that you can top off your meal with a 2012 Georg Breuer Sauvage Riesling ($12 glass) or even a 2007 Thomas Vineyard Shiraz ($54 bottle).
But, the real drawcard here is the rooftop. Light and breezy — and constructed as an upper level to the main dining room below — the rooftop has space to seat about 50 diners and coffee-goers, as well as those just wanting an afternoon drink. Another enormous yellow-tiled bar is stocked and ready to go, with 4 Pines Kolsch, Bridge Road Pale Ale, Mountain Goat IPA and Cavalier Brown Ale all on tap. While an overcast weekday kept everyone inside, market days see patrons spill onto the roof — as will the warmer weather.
With its clever spatial design and perhaps one of the best views over Fitzroy, Young Bloods is set to be abuzz all summer. And, if they decide to extend their opening hours into those hot summer nights, we're sure it will become a mainstay of the inner north.
Image courtesy of theyoungbloods.com.au and Josh Cohen.