If you are a regular Melbourne cafe go-er like me, you will have most definitely heard of a cafe in Richmond called Three Bags Full. The first of what I like to call the ‘triplets’, the original owner Nathan Toleman then followed it up with other favourites of mine – Two Birds One Stone as well as Top Paddock (see reviews). If you have read my posts, or even been to these two cafes, you will discover that Three Bags Full is well and truly a part of the family with similar dishes, familiar decor and regularly interchanging staff.
With new cafes opening up everywhere in Melbourne on a regular basis – eager to try Pardon in Greville Street, Prahran!! – it had been a long time since I had been to Three Bags Full. I rarely get to try a place more than once as a new one will capture my attention, and the only cafes I really return to often enough is either Dukes on Chapel Street or Cru on Glenferrie Road (as I am always around those areas). Melbourne just has too many options… and I love it!!
Crusing in her Rav-4, we pumped Biggie Smalls as we made our way around town running our little errands for the week. When my sister and I both have days off, we often have the same ideas in mind of what to do that day, and we end up having a really good time together! People often ask if we get sick of each other, but when your twin is your best friend as well, you always have fun hanging out just as normal best friends would and you forget all that sister nonsense!
Three Bags Full was the destination for a coffee, and with an appetite starting to emergefrom within, I began to consider lunch as well. Being a weekday, and a signature feature of each one of these three cafes, the words ‘I’ll have the mixed salad’ were already making their way from my brain, to my mouth, and straight onto the waitress’s notepad. As expected, it was packed and full of life inside the cafe. If you actually ever watch the staff, the pace at which they all move around the tables taking orders, delivering coffees and serving plates is incredible. We were seated after only a few short moments by a young waitress who moved quickly and with purpose – attending to everyone with kindness and consideration. We later found out that it was actually her first shift and we were very impressed with her energy and confidence : )
Twins will be twins, and although we are not identical, our lunch orders usually are. So two long blacks and two servings of the Chickpea, Pumpkin, Dukkah salad were requested.
My long black arrived first – a single origin blend from Costa Rica. I drank it easily with no bitter or strong tastes drawing my attention to it, good temperature, absolutely nothing to complain about. I usually however have a thing about coffees arriving separately as I think it is polite to serve them at the same time (as you would food). I guess its just harder with different blends available…
Arriving quite some time after, my sister’s coffee – a single origin from Ecquador, and upon hearing they were different blends, she reached over and grabbed mine to compare tastes. She noted hers was a much stronger blend and that she would next time ask for Costa Rica as she preferred it!
Shortly after, the salads were placed in front of us and first impressions were great!
Size, colour and presentation were all noted first, and we both agreed our portions were great value for money ($13.50). It was beautifully presented with vibrant oranges, greens and purples piled on top of more neutral colours from the chickpeas. My sister particularly liked the wedges of pumpkin as apposed to the usual chunks and said it actually stood out – making the salad eye catching. Even though it was probably just scooped onto the plate from a bigger batch, I don’t think this salad could ever look un-appealing or disappointing…
Second impressions were taste and mouthfeel. Upon the first bite, I picked up hints of lemon in the dressing and cumin seeds from the dukkah. The currants were chewy and sweet, the lemon was sour, the swiss chard was bitter and the feta was salty so it seemed to cover all the bases for taste well. The pumpkin was creamy on the palate and even though the skin was left on, it had tenderised perfectly during the roasting process, making it easy to eat. The dukkah left a subtle crunch on the salad with its chunks of almonds and sesame seeds spread evenly so it always made it onto your fork with each scoop. This salad was well balanced with every bite equally as delicious as the previous one.
The only (and I mean only!) criticism would be that the stalks on the swiss chard (lettuce) were quite thick and hard, making eating them quite uncomfortable. Almost twig like, I began to cut mine off after getting one lodged in my throat, leaving them to side of my plate. A minor negative in large positive!
Clearing our plates, I asked my sister what she thought. Enthusiastically she said ‘it was really good!’ and that she noticed there was no need to even salt and pepper it (which is largely routine for both of us!!)
Eyeing off the array of sweets, cakes and bags of House Granola, we paid quickly before we could purchase them as we promised today we would be good! (Seriously try the Carrot Cup Cakes if you can’t resist buying something!) And so off we went on to the next venture for the day which was our 1 hour and 45 minute speed walk!
Don’t you just love twins!!! 😀