It's funny that this is the first time we've blogged Animal Orchestra. Michael and I first encountered this cosy cafe before we'd even moved to Melbourne; we were staying at an antiquated hotel down the street while attending a conference and stopped there for several lovely breakfasts. A converted terrace house with calm smiling staff, charming furniture and trendy academic customers, Animal Orchestra seemed like the kind of cafe that was typical of Melbourne and nowhere to be found in our hometown of Brisbane. A year later, now living nearby, this was where Michael first sampled his current breakfast favourite, baked eggs.
I don't think the menu has changed much in the intervening years, but nor do I mind. For lunch there's a blackboard of panini, including two vegetarian options - grilled veges or a more novel mixture of mushrooms, chilli, garlic, roasted almonds and fontina (each $9). When Michael and I met up for lunch on Monday, we both went with the latter. Though it's not particularly elegant, this panini is terrific - juicy, earthy and savoury, pepped up with that chilli heat.
Address: 163 Grattan St, Carlton
Ph: 9349 4944
Price: veg panini $9