Inspired by the series finale of Girls, we decided we’d try out Humble Rays, a cute little Carlton breakfast spot. Sandwiched in the backstreets between Lygon, Elizabeth, and Victoria Streets, this is the perfect location for camera-laden university students keen to expand their Instagram profiles.
Let me tell you, this place is anything but humble. The café is bright, funky, and gorgeously decorated, with a huge mural featuring pops of colours and patterns (the design is featured on their large takeaway cups too). The menu is remarkable in its ostentatiousness, featuring a full page of dessert-based dishes (as well as more typical breakfast fair), with a clear focus on fresh ingredients and Asian themes.
As always, we started with coffee, and, really, no Carlton breakfast is replete without coffee. While we weren’t asked immediately if we required caffeination, when food was ordered we made our feelings known. The coffee came out impeccably presented, filled right to the top, with perfectly steamed milk and a creamy, smooth finish. We’ll also admit to ordering a takeaway as we left, just so we could have one of their gorgeous cups for our own.
We ordered exclusively off the dessert menu, first receiving the French Toast Forever, a behemoth of a dish, featuring cream cheese stuffed French toast, boysenberry ice cream, cookie crumbs, Persian fairy floss, cream and fresh fruit. It was as amazing as it looked. The tanginess of the stuffed French Toast was unexpected and delightfully welcomed, while the boysenberry ice cream was utterly moreish. With the saltiness of the crumb the sweetness was kept in check. This dish was well presented and well balanced, though we did find a fruit label on one of the pieces of plum. Our only regret was that it was far too much for our meagre appetites! We haven’t dined on any crazy French toasts in a while, and this was one of the best, a perfect reintroduction!
Additionally, we ordered the Belly Dancing – probably named for how big and round it is going to make our bellies after consumption. A huge stack of pancakes drizzled in sea salt caramel, layered with bananas, bacon, and Nutella, topped with a fried egg, parmesan, and thyme. This dish was equally gigantic as the French Toast, but perhaps wasn’t as well executed as that was. Don’t get us wrong, it was a delicious dish, with perfectly fluffy pancakes, delicious sauce, and copious amounts of bacon (really, no one loses points for that!), but the fried egg and parmesan were curious additions. The thyme was inspired as an finishing flavour, permeating through the entire dish and really elevating the fare, but the egg and parmesan confused the entire thing, making this eater confused as to whether the dish was meant to be sweet or savoury. In the end, these flavours didn’t detract from anything else, just adding a bit of confusion to an otherwise quite tasty treat. If you can’t decide if you’re feeling savoury or sweet, this dish is meant for you!
This would have to be one of our favourite Carlton breakfast hangouts, with super-friendly staff, an exciting and interesting menu that begs for exploration, great coffee, and good vibes. To check out more Carlton reviews, explore the blog, and keep up to date with our Instagram and Facebook pages too!