During this period of social distancing, I will be reviewing restaurants I visited way back when but who are still doing pickup and/or delivery during this time. Please support them by ordering whatever you can from them – whether it’s food, merch or fresh produce – to help them stay afloat in these difficult times.
Where: Forty Flips, 250 Sussex Street Coburg North
What: Brunch with a Middle Eastern twist
Who: Spud Bar-oness, Mr Whatever Floats Your Bloat
Bloat score: 0 – Living the dream
Back when we were housesitting for friends in Fawkner, the new suburb where hipster NOBS (north of Bell Street – I didn’t make this up) are buying houses, a local suggested we visit Forty Flips for brunch. While there was a plethora of options for dinner near us, from Pakistani to Lebanese, McDonalds and Krispy Kreme down the road didn’t quite cut it for breakfast so we acquiesced.
Forty Flips is one of those perfect cafes where it’s always buzzing inside, but not so much that you have to queue to muscle your way in. The seasonal menu was really interesting – nearly everything had slight Middle Eastern twists to them, from the chilli croissant with the additional option of sujuk (a Middle Eastern spicy sausage) and corn fritters with beetroot hummus to the smashed avo on toast with pomegranate labneh and dukkah. Then there was what my eyes gravitated to when I first saw the menu: menemen – a Turkish scrambled egg dish with tomato and sweet peppers. In this melting pot of a café, the owners are Cypriot, the chef Turkish.
Of course tomatoes and peppers are strictly out of the question for anyone on a low-histamine diet, so I gently persuaded (read: coerced) Spud Bar-oness to get it so I could live vicariously through her. Spud Bar-oness likes visiting the famous fast food potato chain as much as she likes recreating its offerings at home, and she kindly obliged so we could snap it for the blog.
It looked and tasted divine (from what she told me). A pan of eggs bubbling in a savoury sweet tomato and green olive sauce arrived with two rectangular hunks of halloumi drizzled with thyme-infused honey and a huge slab of Turkish bread. I’m getting hungry just looking at the picture of this now, and if we all ensure we get takeaway from Forty Flips in this difficult time, I’ll be able to return to order it once lockdown is over!
I had back-to-back brunch and lunch dates on the day we visited and while I was sorely tempted by much of the menu, I went instead for one of the daily specials – chicken tacos with tikka-marinated tenders served on three soft tortillas with coleslaw, cherry tomatoes (oops), pickled onions (double oops) and mint yoghurt. I figured they were light enough so as to justify lunch soon after while also being substantial enough at the time. The chicken was piquant and moist, and the mint yoghurt dressing added a pleasant zing. This was a simple yet well-executed dish and I enjoyed it immensely.
Mr Whatever Floats Your Bloat, known for his adventurous spirit when it comes to trying new things, branched out from his perennial order of eggs on toast and ordered the pancakes with fresh berries, blueberry coulis, maple, vanilla ice-cream and roasted chocolate-dipped hazelnuts. I remember him liking this too.
I thankfully didn’t ingest enough cherry tomatoes or pickled onion to become bloated, which left plenty of space for my subsequent lunch. Plant eaters and the wheat-intolerant are well-catered to at Forty Flips – classic breakfast staples like the maple-soaked autumn porridge and the coconut yoghurt-infused bircher muesli were vegan and there were gluten-free equivalents for a lot of the dishes, apart from the already naturally gluten-free items.
Forty Flips is slightly off the beaten track, situated on the cusp of Coburg North and Pascoe Vale not within easy walking distance to any public transport. But it’s well worth a visit – and below is how you can support it.
Forty Flips is usually open from 7am to 1.30pm Monday to Friday and from 8am to 1.30pm Saturday to Sunday. Right now, Forty Flips is closed for dining in, but is open for takeaway and pick-ups – they have added a portobello mushroom toastie to a brand new takeaway panini range, and are doing daily specials ranging from traditional Cypriot hummus soup to chickpea curry with roti. You can call them to order or use the Skip app.