Casual by day, romantic by night, The Collins Quarter is a hit — Photo courtesy of The Collins Quarter
Restaurant owner Anthony Debreceny, a native of that city, describes the café he opened in 2014, as a "café by day and a fine dining restaurant by night."
The transformation is notable and the addition of dinner to the menu is recent. By day, "brekkie" (breakfast) and lunch offer classic Aussie café selections highlighting fresh local produce, served in a casual, laid-back ambiance.
When night falls however, candlelight and romance prevail and the menu takes on a decidedly more modern, contemporary and upscale quality.
Dishes are created by Australian chef Nick McNevin, whose background in New York Michelin-star restaurants brings a certain cachet to a menu highlighting savory dinner items such as shrimp and grits, braised short ribs and duck breast with bok choy and pickled blueberries.
Breakfast, brunch and lunch offer a range of tasty selections such as brioche French toast, Leo's Aussie brekkie, Moroccan scrambled eggs, salmon club sandwiches, an array of salads and more.
Debreceny allows Chef McNevin free rein in creating new dishes. As he says, "It's all part of keeping the chef happy."
It's also something diners are definitely benefiting from.
An ample roster of local and imported beer, wines, cocktails and designer coffees and teas complete the delectable experience.
Coffee plays an important role in the Collins Quarter, as Debreceny will tell you. Cafés are abundant in his hometown and locals typically make a point of visiting them daily. Referring to his restaurant as a "coffee-centric café with excellent food, instead of being a restaurant with good coffee," illustrates the coffee bar is a prominent part of the scene.
Their secret to delicious coffee: premium beans from Toby’s Estate Coffee, a custom La Marzocco Espresso Italian espresso machine with enough horsepower to do the job and coffee accessories from around the world.
Coffee also figures predominately in some of their signature cocktails: the Espresso Mint Julep features homemade basil and mint syrup over ice, Orange and Cardamom adds those ingredients to the espresso, and the Smoked Salted Mocha features espresso, chocolate ganache and milk with whipped cream and smoke sea salt.
For an exotic hot beverage, try the Spiced Lavender Mocha, a blend of espresso, dark chocolate, spices, lavender and steamed milk sprinkled with lavender buds.
It's sure to kickstart your day.