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Tomboy - Espresso Melbourne

Cafe: Tomboy - Collingwood

The Muffin Mission

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Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday 7:30am – 4pm
Saturday 8am – 4pm
Sunday 9am – 4pm
Seven Seeds

One morning, struck down with a killer cold, I phoned my boyfriend to come collect me from work (having heroically/idiotically 86ed myself to the office only to be promptly sent home).

‘I’m sick…I need a muffin,’ I sniffled to my driver/partner. Sounds simple enough but life as a sweet tooth has taught me muffins are the unicorns of the baked world. Such a ubiquitous offering, yet more often than not, so blah. Luckily, I know a little place that delivers a sure-thing batch of crunchy-topped unicorns daily: Smith Street’s Tomboy: makers of the only muffin that could go some way to soothing symptoms of the common cold.

To my devastation, Tomboy was closed that day**. I asked my boyfriend to just smother me with the tissues I’d accumulated on my lap and leave me by the side of the road. He talked me off the ledge and we commenced a muffin hunt that involved stopping at every cafe between Tomboy and our place in Northcote. Three were purchased, each offensively disappointing.

From the muffins outward, Tomboy ace everything. The cake stand in the window and the Great Wall of Brownies across the counter are otherworldly. These are the creations of owner George, whose side business, Box Brownies, produces the most visually delicious and all-round delectable treats in the city. A full minute can pass between the point of asking ‘what kind of brownies are those?’ and comprehending the end of the answer. I fade in and out of consciousness as I’m told ‘raspberry chocolate, walnut and espresso, peanut butter, rocky road, Turkish Delight, peppermint, double chocolate‘ and so on. I don’t have enough space in my word limit to catalogue George’s other (mainly gluten-free) baked achievements. Basically all I can do is urge you to go, see and sample.

The space is comfortably small, with a compact Synesso to complement (if you were to sit the machine alongside Proud Mary’s beast it would look almost like a stovetop). Seven Seeds supply the café’s beans and each coffee is made with care and precision by baristas who’ve perfected their craft across Melbourne institutions such as Seven Seeds and Auction Rooms.

Pia, the other half of this smooth operation, commands the kitchen. Menu options are concise with a vegetarian lean but tick the necessary boxes; however, if you’re a build-your-own breaky kind of person, the menu mightn’t be your style. Lunch-wise, Tomboy offers daily varying sandwiches, salads and a savoury tart.

I’d be lying if I said I only gorge on apple and cinnamon muffins when feeling poorly. Truth is, I Tomboy muffin often. And I brownie frequently, too. It can’t be helped – the baked offerings are that good; I’ll use any excuse to get my fill and then some. So do yourself an enormous service: forget every muffin you’ve ever wasted time, money and taste buds on, get to Tomboy (early) and snare an apple and cinnamon or banana and chocolate treasure fresh from the oven. Once you go unicorn, you never go back.

(**’Twas a Monday; however, they’ve since decided – intelligently – to trade seven days).

356 Smith St
Collingwood, 3066
T. 03 9486 0162


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