I first discovered the Merchant’s Guild thanks to my good foodie friend called Zomato. The reviews were good and we were open to the idea of discovering our new go-to brunch spot. I have now been to the Merchant’s Guild on three separate occasions, and each time has been a different experience I feel is important to share.
BRUNCHING TIME NO.1
Walking in, I immediately wanted to love this industrial style café. There was a good number of seating available, an open kitchen, an enticing little display of desserts, and we were greeted warmly upon entering. The menu offers a broad selection to suit your cravings for the day. Though this café leans slightly more to the pricier side, portions are generous and presentation is insta-worthy enough to justify forking out a little extra.
The first Melbourne test to pass was of course, coffee. I ordered my usual soy cappuccino and was delighted to see a perfectly-frothed-and-chocolate-topped hit of caffeine. More importantly, the Merchant’s Guild passed the ‘sip and smile’ test. That is, whether or not the first sip of coffee was good enough to make me want to come back for the coffee alone. This is one of the deciding factors for me as sooo many places seem to burn soy milk!
I ordered a quick toast with peanut butter and jam (because I’m still like 5 years old) and my boyfriend ordered a much more ample meal of espresso-infused french toast with nutella, mascarpone and banana. The french toast was $17.50 and the toast was $8.
I appreciated the large pieces of toast that were not already pre-buttered as some other places I have seen like to do. There was also sufficient PB&J provided that I didn’t have to be too sparing. The french toast was enough for my boyfriend to rave about and crave for the following few months, and he even tempted me for one small spoonful despite my aversion to dairy.
The service was attentive and friendly. However, I should also note that this was our first experience here on a weekday morning, when the café was only about 20-30% filled. Nevertheless, it was enough to make us come back.
Overall Rating #1: 8.5/10
BRUNCHING TIME NO.2
In contrast to our last visit, it was much busier as we popped in around noon on a weekend. Despite the busy scene, a waiter offered us seats at the communal table and we were seated and ordered within ten to fifteenminutes of arrival.
Food & Coffee
We ordered our coffees in a takeaway cup this time, but the end result was still just as satisfying. The wait wasn’t even five minutes and the food arrived shortly after. I had decided to be boring and order the same thing whilst the boo got a very healthy and aesthetically pleasing plate of fritters, quinoa salad, and poached egg. As soon as I saw it I bumped it up to the top of my list of dishes to try in the future. Another kudos to the Merchant’s Guild for presentation, quality of food, and timeliness of service.
By the end of the brunch, I was feeling quite certain of this brunch spot. Based on the constant influx of hungry people walking in I’m sure I wasn’t alone in that feeling.
Though busier than our first visit, service was still fast and friendly.
Overall Rating #2: 9/10
BRUNCHING TIME NO.3
Let’s just jump straight into it. It was much busier on this day than the previous two experiences; so much so that our quickest option for available seating was to sit by the window next to the door, which was completely fine.
We ordered two coffees that we received fairly quickly and kept us occupied as we waited for our food. The coffee standard has been pretty consistent each time. However, they definitely go for getting people to down some extra caffeine to fill in the waiting time during busier hours. We were already 45 minutes into waiting for our food and were asked if we wanted any more coffee in the mean time. “Hi but no thanks, will my toast be here any time soon?”
Without planning to, I ordered the same thing three times in a row. Although rather boring, I’d say it was a good thing for this experiment. When the toast finally came out an hour later, our moods had definitely sunken and so had our appetites. The amount of peanut butter provided was dismal, and definitely not enough to even cover one piece of the toast.
I am under the impression that the Merchant’s Guild doesn’t cope too well under pressure. Other times, it’s worthwhile to go as the food, coffee, and service are great. However, on days where there is a wait to even just get a table, personally I think you would be better off giving it a miss – particularly if you are pressed for time as we were on this day.
Overall Rating #3: 4/10