We were invited to visit South Melbourne’s The Left Handed Chef – and when you hear good things from not only one of the top bloggers on Zomato, but also several other of your good foodie mates you’re expecting something pretty special, and The Left Handed Chef was just that, but not in the way I imagined.
There’s no flash, bang fancy industrial decor and signature Instagrammable dish. The Left Handed Chef took me home – which might sound bizarre when you realise I’m from Manchester, a long way away from where their Middle Eastern inspired food originated but bear with me…
My local brunch scene back home was full of small business owners, cooking the food they’d grown up with. It was built on more than good food, it was built on good people too. It wasn’t just people who remembered my coffee order, they also knew I was painting my front door that week, and I knew it was their granddaughter’s birthday. The Left Handed Chef took me back to this. Their warmth just radiated from the moment we arrived, they had a table set for us and seemed both delighted and nervous about our visit. It was only later after chatting to them I realised, it was more than inviting us to their cafe, this was a snapshot into their life, and something they had worked incredibly hard to achieve. I left feeling privileged they chose to include me in their experience.
The food.. I ordered the grand slam – toast loaded with hommus, fried halloumi, bacon, two poached eggs and dusted with dukkah to finish. Now, anywhere that puts halloumi and bacon on the same plate is already winning and I wasn’t surprised when Ehud, the chef, said this was one of their most popular menu choices. The bread is made in house, and I don’t know what Ehud does, but it was absolutely delicious. You could actually taste the “sour” in the sourdough. The hommus was light, with very little oil and a lot of flavour. The halloumi was fried to perfection. It was like someone had taken a Middle Eastern Mezze, and a traditional English breakfast and mixed them up together on a plate, and it was perfect. Every element was well-cooked and the flavours blended beautifully. The ingredients were top quality, and it’s no surprise that I’ve just read that Ehud personally sources all of the ingredients from local suppliers, as well as personally cooking every meal.
Much to Mr. Boring’s delight, the Farmer’s Breakfast could have been made for him, Scrambled Eggs, Bacon and a Hash Brown with toast – this is literally his go-to meal when we go anyway for brunch – but he usually has to create it through various substitutions or adding extra sides. The eggs were exactly how he liked them, smooth with a lot of flavour, he liked the generous portion of bacon and home-made hash brown looked so perfect it made me want to hang my head in shame at my own attempts to make them.
Alongside our breakfast, The Left Handed Chef sent us home with some sweet treats as well which we enjoyed this afternoon. The waffle doughnut, and red velvet Lamington are two of their signature items. I loved the simplicity of the waffle doughnut, with its light cinnamon dusting – it’s one of those things that makes you ask “Why don’t they have these everywhere?”. The smell of the lamington alone is enough to make you walk away from your diet and never go back; it’s soft sponge and rich flavour were so enjoyable.
I actually want to go and sit in the Left-handed Chef every day, for their creative, delicious brunch, their picture perfect coffee and their delicious cakes. But even more so for the warm welcome and friendliness that I’d receive. While you can build good service, you can’t manufacture such genuineness. You hear this phrase banded around so often, but if you want food that really is cooked with love, this is the place to go.