Sometimes you have to step away from the hustle and bustle of the main CBD streets to find truly delicious food. Operator25 supports this theory completely.
If you want excellent brunch and coffee, whether for business or leisure, executive chef Valerie Fong (previously of Bacash Restaurant in South Yarra) and head chef Felipe Guedes have got you covered.
Operator25 was named after the history of the building that it is located in. It was the first Melbourne Telephone Exchange Building, dating back to the early 1900s.
Fong worked closely with seafood chef legend Michael Bacash for four years to master seafood at his self-titled restaurant, where she met Guedes when he joined the team after moving to Melbourne from Brazil.
“Menu planning has always been a big part of the Operator25 kitchen,” explains Fong.
“We have weekly kitchen meetings (from executive chef to chef de partie) that run for one to two hours. During this time we brainstorm ideas and create a collection of dishes to then go through selection phase for the next menu. On top of that we dedicate one night shift every two weeks to test the recipes. We call it the “research shift”.”
Like any good café, having great produce is an important building block in creating tasty, fresh food. Fong says they have really good suppliers who provide them with the best produce that is available in Australia. In addition, Guedes makes a weekly trip to the nearby Queen Victoria Market just to see what is seasonally available.
“Here in Australia, we are blessed with quality and big variety of fresh seasonal produce. So we pride ourselves on only using the best seasonal and artisan ingredients to support producers around Australia,” says Fong.
According to Fong, the most popular dish on the menu is the Balinese Marinated Pork. It has been on the menu since the beginning in a variety of formats including a burger, open sandwich and even a main course dish with succulent pieces of pork fillet and belly. While the appearance of the dish changes, the flavour profile stays the same.
Fong says that being in the city, Operator25 have a different clientele on weekdays and weekend.
“Corporates and university students are the two main demographics that visit us regularly. And the corporates are getting used to the idea that we offer restaurant quality food without the formality.
“The brunch culture in Melbourne is so strong that it’s no longer seen as just something that you have over the weekend.
“Our point of difference is the Asian influence in our dishes and the constant menu changes that follow every season.”
All coffee at Operator25 is freshly roasted (within one to two weeks of use) from Code Black Coffee and Small Batch.
“Apart from the technique and skills of the barista, good equipment (coffee machine, grinder) does contribute to the result. But consistency and quality control are important factors to achieve all this,” says Fong.
25 Wills St,
Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9670 3278