*Basement Café is now called CEREE, and has moved to Spring Street.
MELBOURNE | I recently visited small CBD café Basement Cafe for What’s On Melbourne. The cafe has been popular with local residents and workers for many years, known for its casual ambience, eclectic music, and quality, reliable, classic Australian brunch dishes. When current owners, brothers Elbert and Abi Estanpador took over, just before the pandemic, they didn’t change things up too much. It held them in good stead through the pandemic, selling familiar take away options to the construction workers who were still allowed to work in the city during lockdown.
As restrictions eased, the brothers started to change things up. They kept the tried and true favourites on the menu, but leaned into their heritage and introduced some Filipino breakfast options. They were a hit. Not just with Filipino customers, but others too. Today, the menu at Basement Cafe consists of a mixture of Filipino and classic Australian options for breakfast and lunch, with the Filipino section expanding beyond the initial few breakfast dishes.
The main attraction is their ‘silog’ meals. Essentially garlic rice, a meat of your choice, a fried egg, atsara (sweet pickled papaya), cucumber, and tomato. The longsilog, featuring longganisa (sweet sausage), is a highlight.
Other dishes include things like Filipino spaghetti, pancit palabok, menudo, and pancit guisado. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, there’s options like taho, halo-halo, leche flan, and ube muffins. The silog breakfasts are a regular feature and the other dishes rotate through the menu as specials. Whatever is on offer when you visit, you won’t be disappointed.
Oh, the coffee is great too, and they’re licensed if you feel like an alcoholic drink.
43/350 LaTrobe Street
Mon – Fri: 6:00am to 4:00pm
Sat – Sun: 8:30am to 3:00pm