Three Bags Full | Melbourne

Those familiar with Aesop’s Tortoise and the Hare know that the tortoise wins in the end due to the hare’s hubris and sloth. When it comes to my food blogging, I’m the sum of the worst parts of both hare and tortoise – I’m slow like the tortoise, as lazy as the hare.

This is why it takes me nearly a year to get my post out on Three Bags Full, despite the fact that I already revisited Melbourne in between, and that host of adventures inevitably delayed a whole lot longer.

My Achilles heel, perhaps. However – just like the fabled battler, I get there in the end. Melbourne, I will not let you down!

Date Last Visited: 30/11/13
Address: 60 Nicholson St Abbotsford, VIC 3067
Recommended Dish(es): braised pulled pork shoulder on toasted brioche

Three Bags Full

The front area

You have to travel for 10-15min out of the CBD in order to reach Three Bags Full. Foodies fly overseas just to eat at a restaurant; it’s all about perspective. Then again, all it took was a favourable Urbanspoon listing and some good looking dishes that drew us to this inner city Melbourne cafe.

Three Bags Full

The back area

With two generously-sized seating areas, Three Bags Full is quite sizable. We thought we could get away with an immediate seating but no, we were forced to wait for around 15min even with their prodigious capacity.

Three Bags Full

latte ($3.5)

Once we did get seated, we immediately hit the coffees. Because, you know, waiting for breakfast is an intensely draining task. What? Don’t judge me.

By my non-existent coffee criteria, the latte here passes through just fine. Since you shouldn’t trust my coffee judging skills as far as you could throw me, let’s just say that Urbanspoon’s reviewers are also chuffed with the coffee here. Try it, you won’t die.

Three Bags Full

Mocha ($3.9)

For those more inclined for a sweet kick, try the mocha. I didn’t end up having a taste, as I tend to avoid excessive calories in drinks…

…so I can have them in the form of food. Yeah, there ain’t any dieting going on here.

Three Bags Full

Beetroot cured salmon w/pea, feta & sweet corn fritter, avocado, rocket, dill sour cream & lemon ($17)

In a retrospective sense, a dish very similar to the beetroot cured salmon at Brewtown Newtown confirmed my disposition towards beetroot curing.

You could say that Three Bags Full would be the trigger, and you would be right – I don’t actually recall ever having beetroot-cured fish before this time.

Granted, the taste was rather middling, with the flavour not going through particularly strongly. Still, the fritters were nice and crunchy, somewhat rescuing an otherwise average dish. Oh, and that amount of avocado – insane. Nature’s fat. Savour it.

Three Bags Full

Braised beans on housemade cornbread w/pickled greent tomato, crumbled feta, coriander & fried egg ($17)

I didn’t order the braised beans on housemade cornbread, as I’m not really a beans-for-breakfast kind of guy. Still, I’m definitely partial to having a taste, and oh yes, it’s full of flavour. Still, I know that I would be turned off if I were to eat a whole serving. A dish to share? Yes. To solo it on your own? Be prepared for some awkward elevator moments.

Three Bags Full

Moroccan marinated roast chicken w/refried beans, mint yoghurt & crunchy lettuce in pide ($13.5)

At this point, I’m really lamenting my photographic skills of yesteryear, but such is life when you take a blast to the past.

It doesn’t look it, but this is a delicious “burger” of Moroccan marinated roasted chicken. I particularly digged how textural the tough pide is. I’m not usually a fan of a tough bun, but when eaten as an open sandwich, it works as a tasty and stable base.

The chicken is a little dry, but it’s very well seasoned, with a spicy kick that’s just so right. I would order it again for sure, provide a bit more of the creamy mint yoghurt – the glue that’s the dry chicken’s lifesaver.

Three Bags Full

Braised pulled pork shoulder on toasted brioche w/celeriac remoulade, house made BBQ sauce & pickled green tomato ($13)

The braised pulled pork shoulder on toasted brioche has all the hallmarks of a great dish for me. It has pulled pork, it has brioche, a house made BBQ sauce, pickles…by all rights it should be perfect.

Well, it’s pretty good, actually. The sweetness of the brioche, the flavours of the pulled pork, it’s all there. Only problem? The pork was too wet. That BBQ sauce (or whatever other liquids were in that burger) made the whole thing too runny, resulting in a huge mess, and the burger falling apart near the end. The texture suffered as a result, producing a burger that is a shadow of what it could have been.

Big points for giving a lot of pulled pork though!

Three Bags Full

Flourless chocolate cake ($4.5)

For fun, we took away a flourless chocolate cake as The Lady found it to be rather attractive. Can’t blame her, it’s almost as pretty as I am (I went there). Taste-wise, it’s OK – for a flourless chocolate cake. I’m all for healthy eating, but not at the expense of taste. No ragging on flourless baked goods, but I’ll take me some of that gluten any day.

Three Bags Full is best described as a good “local favourite” cafe with decent food. Not super special, but it is likely one of the better joints in its residential locale. Worth a foodie trip? Probably not. For a local? You could do much worse.

As usual, feel free to leave a comment or three 😀


  • Some dishes with killer potential

Not so Awesome:

  • Most dishes require a little bit of TLC to shine

6.5/10 Caesars

Three Bags Full on Urbanspoon

14 comments on “Three Bags Full | Melbourne”

  1. Ramen Raff Reply

    Totally missed out going here on my last trip to Melb as there were no trams from the CBD to this area on weekends 🙁 . Shame not everything was good but at least you had some awesome ones still.

    • Michael Shen Reply

      To be clear, the food was good, it just wasn’t anything special? That’s why I didn’t rate it too highly. I imagine if I was a local though it would still be a joint I’d frequent.

  2. ChopinandMysaucepan Reply

    Dear Michael,

    This is a beautiful review.

    I think a review at the later stages of a restaurant’s opening may not necessarily be bad. An early review gets the word out but when things have settled down, the approach can often be more measured and objective.

    • Michael Shen Reply

      Thank you for your kind words Chopin.

      I’m not sure how the rest of your comment relates to the post on Three Bags Full, perhaps you meant it for my post on John Smith Cafe? For that place, I did discuss the topic of reviewing a place soon after it opens.

  3. Padaek Reply

    The pulled pork brioche looks amazing! Awesome photos as always. My favourite is the Moroccan roasted chicken. Seriously! 🙂

    • Michael Shen Reply

      There was just a bit too much of it though, who knew I could complain about a bit too much eh!

      Given my experience with the soup at John Smith recently, I think I can take to anything Moroccan!

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