329 George St
Sometimes, uni starts unforgivably early. I realize that there are people out there who have to get up at 5 or 6am (or even earlier) everyday and don't mind it but I am REALLY not a morning person.
To avoid walking to the bus stop, I usually hitch a ride with my dad who is one of those people mentioned above had leaves the house at 6:30am daily. Although this saves me a trip, I tend to arrive in the city a bit earlier than I have to. There's not many ways you can kill time in the mornings but a particularly enjoyable activity is having a good breakfast to wake me up.
I was on my way to Chocolate Soldier when I passed Bar Merlo. I'd never noticed this cafe before but it was buzzing with people and looked bright, open and inviting. I had a peak inside and there were loads of paninis, muffins, slices and things that in the window that looked super appealing.
On that occasion, I ordered a cappuccino and breakfast panini. I had noticed their gorgeous banana bread which is much thicker than other cafes... and mentally made a note to go back later. Well, 'later' was today. I had breakfast at Bar Merlo again and did order the banana bread.
It was SO GOOD. It came toasted, dusted in icing sugar with some butter on the side. I don't think it needed the butter to be honest. The slice of banana bread itself is soft, flavorsome and cake-like without being that sweet or cloying.
I always thought I had a preference for heavy, dense and moist loaves but this one was light and slightly crumbly. I loved it.
The breakfast panini I had the other time was pretty good value for money. It's simple, came quickly and was a nice way to start the day. The panini is filled with ham, cheese and a tasty tomato paste.
I've had coffee there twice. The cappuccino didn't really leave an impression me as being particularly good or bad. The flat white I had this morning wasn't very nice. There's not a lot of coffee that I find bad but I couldn't be bothered to finish it. The taste just seemed off and it came out lukewarm.
Service at Bar Merlo is nice, fast but a bit hectic in those early mornings. They don't give you an order number or anything so it's a wonder how anything gets to your table at all! The dining area is spread out with a foyer area, side area and huge outdoor area too.
I quite like this cafe. Sometimes, you don't need a reason - you just feel relaxed when you walk in. This is one of those places for me... and they make killer banana bread.