HOT: Code Black Howard Street, 119 Howard St, North Melbourne

Code Black Howard Street 119 Howard St North Melbourne 1 HOT: Code Black Howard Street, 119 Howard St, North Melbourne

Code Black Coffee is a cafe and specialty coffee roaster in Brunswick who have opened up a second outpost in Howard Street North Melbourne.

Like the original location the Code Black Howard Street roasts its own coffee but the roasting machine is really more for decorative purposes as most of the coffee is still roasted in Brunswick.

Code Black Howard Street 119 Howard St North Melbourne 2 HOT: Code Black Howard Street, 119 Howard St, North Melbourne

The new cafe is a gorgeous light-filled warehouse conversion by  ZWEI Interiors Architecture, The bricks have been painted white punctuated by lacquered green steel beams and blonde wood abounds. I particularly love the slatted staircase.

Code Black Howard Street 119 Howard St North Melbourne 3 HOT: Code Black Howard Street, 119 Howard St, North Melbourne

Seating encircles the barista station and open kitchen and a mezzanine level upstairs, though I’d avoid the awkward mini tables at the banquette unless you’re up for holding yoga side twists during your meal.

The food menu has a similar quirkiness as the Brunswick menu and takes inspiration from the fact that the space used to be an old car garage. I’ve explored some of the options over several visits.

Code Black Howard Street 119 Howard St North Melbourne 4 HOT: Code Black Howard Street, 119 Howard St, North Melbourne

Black beans with jalapeno cornbread ($12) was a punchy dish of spiced beans, a fried egg and a spongy, cake-like slice of cornbread. I opted for a side of pork belly ($4), a thick cut of belly cooked a little too dry for my liking. Overall I would have liked to up the ante on the chilli – just felt like a dash of hot sauce would have really enhanced the flavours.

Code Black Howard Street 119 Howard St North Melbourne 6 HOT: Code Black Howard Street, 119 Howard St, North Melbourne

For something lighter the seared tuna salad is ah-mazing ($17). Super-fresh slices of herb-crusted rare tuna with a wholesome mount of cucumber, snow pea tendrils and bok choy plus grains of millet and chia for crunch.

Code Black Howard Street 119 Howard St North Melbourne 5 HOT: Code Black Howard Street, 119 Howard St, North Melbourne

If you have a sweet tooth I recommend the apple salted caramel hotcakes ($14). Ricotta makes the hotcakes very light and inside you’ll find shreds of apple. It’s served with salted caramel sauce, crunchy candied pecans and slices of freeze dried apple.

Code Black Howard Street is a extension, not a duplication of Code Black Coffee in Brunswick. I actually prefer its lighter, brighter interior to the original location, while the food and coffee as just as spot on.

Code Black Howard Street, 119 Howard St, North Melbourne

Mon-Sun 7am-5pm

minilink HOT: Code Black Howard Street, 119 Howard St, North Melbourne

HOT: Rudimentary, 16-20 Leeds St, Footscray

Rudimentary 16 20 Leeds St Footscray 9 HOT: Rudimentary, 16 20 Leeds St, Footscray

Rudimentary is the most exciting addition to Footscray’s burgeoning cafe scene – because it’s going to the closest cafe to my house! And it’s kid-friendly! And bike-friendly! And the food is great!

I am four !!!! excited.

Rudimentary 16 20 Leeds St Footscray 3 HOT: Rudimentary, 16 20 Leeds St, Footscray

The new cafe is set on an expansive corner block bordering Leeds Street and my regular bike route on Donald Street. Despite its proximity to bustling Little Saigon market it’s a quiet, lovely space, a garden oasis in the middle of concrete downtown Footscray.

Rudimentary 16 20 Leeds St Footscray 2 HOT: Rudimentary, 16 20 Leeds St, Footscray

The owner Des, an architect by training, has taken a decrepit carpark, dandied up four shipping containers, laid out turf and set out raised garden beds that will provide the kitchen with fresh fruit, veges and herbs.

Rudimentary 16 20 Leeds St Footscray 6 HOT: Rudimentary, 16 20 Leeds St, Footscray

There are multiple bike racks and a coffee window that acts as a bike-through (or pram-through).

DSC00624 1024x682 HOT: Rudimentary, 16 20 Leeds St, Footscray

Rudimentary 16 20 Leeds St Footscray 4 HOT: Rudimentary, 16 20 Leeds St, Footscray

The interior decor is just as pleasing, with a neutral palette of white, beige, cream, and wood and delicate filament lights suspended from the ceiling.

Rudimentary 16 20 Leeds St Footscray 11 HOT: Rudimentary, 16 20 Leeds St, Footscray

A shiny La Marzocco churns out Small Batch coffee and the kitchen is open for all to see.

My pick of the seating is the big communal table surrounded by comfortable padded vintage swivel chairs. Or maybe on a sunny day one of the window benches, watching the passing parade of ever-changing Footscray.

Rudimentary 16 20 Leeds St Footscray 7 HOT: Rudimentary, 16 20 Leeds St, Footscray

The menu provides all-day breakfast options and lunch dishes from 11am. I choose one of Des’ favourite dishes, braised pork belly with crispy pig’s ear, chilli and tamarind and fried eggs ($17). The dish is substantial and would be a fantastic hangover cure, with meat falling off the bone, crunchy crackling and twisted ear-y bits topped with a punchy sauce.

Rudimentary 16 20 Leeds St Footscray 10 HOT: Rudimentary, 16 20 Leeds St, Footscray

I then try one of the sweet breakfast options, a red rice pudding with whipped coconut, mango and ginger crumble ($14.5). This is a sensational dish of melting rice grains with just a touch of bite. The creaminess well punctuated by the fine crumble and the mango lends the dish just the right amount of sweetness.

If you don’t want to eat a whole sweet dish then the coffee counter offers housemade goodies supplemented with sweets from Cobb Lane in Yarraville.

Rudimentary 16 20 Leeds St Footscray 1 HOT: Rudimentary, 16 20 Leeds St, Footscray

Not being a coffee drinker I ordered a chai instead ($4), a delightfully creamy concoction with gentle spice notes on the nose. After testing many chair blends the barista decided to make her own and Rudimentary‘s cup is certainly one of the better examples of an often watery and bland drink.

Des is hoping to make Rudimentary a community hub and I hope that it succeeds. Certainly I’m excited that it’s going to be my new local.

Rudimentary, 16-20 Leeds St, Footscray

Mon-Fri 7am-4pm

Sat-Sun 8am – 4pm 

HOT: Woven, 175B Stephen St, Yarraville

Woven 175B Stephen St Yarraville 5 HOT: Woven, 175B Stephen St, Yarraville

Woven is a small cafe at the bottom of a newish warehouse conversion in Yarraville.

Woven 175B Stephen St Yarraville 6 HOT: Woven, 175B Stephen St, Yarraville

It feels like Collingwood without the high prices and cooler-than-thou attitude. They have fitted out the compact space with wood, brick, polished concrete and exposed beams, in keeping with its formerly industrial heritage. There are a few outdoor seats with umbrellas too.

Woven 175B Stephen St Yarraville 2 HOT: Woven, 175B Stephen St, Yarraville

The menu is small but interesting. I choose the tofu and kale gratin with a lemon, herb and toasted nut crust ($14) which sounded smugly healthy and an apt pitstop for those visiting Art of Cycling next door. I enjoyed the umami flavours of the gratin but found the texture a bit dry overall. I think a gooey poached egg on top would balance out all that crunchiness better.

Woven 175B Stephen St Yarraville 3 HOT: Woven, 175B Stephen St, Yarraville

RM decided on the Dr Marty’s Crumpets with honeyed mascarpone, pear and toasted walnuts ($13). I didn’t have a chance to try the crumpets as RM ate them too fast – so I suppose they were good! He informed me that the crumpets were toasted just right such that the wet ingredients didn’t make them soggy and the flavour combination wasn’t too sweet despite first appearances.

Woven 175B Stephen St Yarraville 1 HOT: Woven, 175B Stephen St, Yarraville

From 10am you can start digging into the lunch menu – salads ($14-$16), a ‘bang up burger’ with chips ($18.50) and sandwiches ($10). The kids menu was one of the cheapest I’ve seen in a while at $5.50 per item.

Woven is a small, neat space on a quiet residential street which will cater to the locals well. The menu is about $3-4 less than I’d expect for the quality of the food and coffee comes from specialty roaster Code Black Coffee in Brunswick.

Woven, 175B Stephen St, Yarraville 

Every day 7am – 4pm

minilink HOT: Woven, 175B Stephen St, Yarraville

HOT: Green Park, 815 Nicholson Street, Carlton North

Green Park 815 Nicholson Street Carlton North 10 HOT: Green Park, 815 Nicholson Street, Carlton North

Green Park in Carlton North has made a fresh start of one of my former regular haunts in Melbourne, St Ali North. It’s just as great as before with a few new touches.

Green Park 815 Nicholson Street Carlton North 4 HOT: Green Park, 815 Nicholson Street, Carlton North

The big windows facing out onto the Capital City trail bike path and the adjacent playground have been retained and are so relaxing on a sunny day (they have a strip of outdoor heaters too). Inside is a light-filled inside area now daubed in a calming shade of sea green (natch).

Green Park 815 Nicholson Street Carlton North 7 HOT: Green Park, 815 Nicholson Street, Carlton North

New in the Green Park decor is a long leather banquette along one wall with a hip-height wall separating the seating area with the main thoroughfare.  There’s a raised communal table and more seating options have been inserted in the bar area, with stools and cosy booths for singles or groups.

Green Park 815 Nicholson Street Carlton North 8 HOT: Green Park, 815 Nicholson Street, Carlton North

One of the owners Jesse Gerner is the man behind Bomba and Anada so the daytime menu has a few Spanish flourishes before moving into more Spanish influences in the evening.

The daytime menu is split between ‘grains’ – granola, porridge and bready items – egg-dominated breakfast dishes and substantial lunch mains from 11-3pm. I went for the scotch egg with black pudding, rosemary glazed bacon and brioche ($20).

Green Park 815 Nicholson Street Carlton North 9 HOT: Green Park, 815 Nicholson Street, Carlton North

This was a very filling dish and I’m sure will gain a reputation for being a hangover cure. If you’re wondering whether the black pudding is (as I did) it’s actually encasing the egg! The thick cut bacon was a hefty, sticky piece of porky goodness so the light mint, parsley, radish and capers salad was a welcome relief from the richness.

Green Park 815 Nicholson Street Carlton North 6 HOT: Green Park, 815 Nicholson Street, Carlton North

Green Park 815 Nicholson Street Carlton North 1 e1412330826596 HOT: Green Park, 815 Nicholson Street, Carlton North

Green Park 815 Nicholson Street Carlton North 2 HOT: Green Park, 815 Nicholson Street, Carlton North

For sweets head straight to the pastry cabinet, with all the pastries made in house by ex-Vue de Monde head pastry chef Gadi Assayag. They have actually started a wholesale pastry business on site called Park Street Pastries and supply their sweets to other cafes in Melbourne such as Kettle Black, Stagger Lee’s and Top Paddock. I highly recommend their cheesecake ‘sandwich’ with raspberry sugar and lemon curd.

Green Park 815 Nicholson Street Carlton North 14 HOT: Green Park, 815 Nicholson Street, Carlton North

I got a preview of the dinner menu at the cafe’s launch and some highlights included the kingfish ceviche with dabs of avocado and the heat provided by chipotle and jalapeno. It doesn’t look like much on the plate but the combination of delicate textures and flavours with the crunchy tortilla strips and tongue-sizzling chilli was an exciting combination.

Green Park 815 Nicholson Street Carlton North 13 HOT: Green Park, 815 Nicholson Street, Carlton North

My second favourite dish was a perfectly pan-fried crispy local snapper with a surprisingly delectable base of stewed zucchini, two words I’d previous thought should never be used together.

Green Park 815 Nicholson Street Carlton North 16 HOT: Green Park, 815 Nicholson Street, Carlton North

Green Park 815 Nicholson Street Carlton North 12 HOT: Green Park, 815 Nicholson Street, Carlton North

Oh yes, and don’t miss the vegetable sides!  Crunchy fried chat potatoes lolling in garlic butter and colourful, flavoursome heirloom carrots, full of beta-carotene goodness to help you see the jazz musicians playing by the resident piano ‘Fats’.

Green Park 815 Nicholson Street Carlton North 15 HOT: Green Park, 815 Nicholson Street, Carlton North

It’s early days but Green Park has all the makings of a lively, friendly, neighbourhood hub where you can grab a coffee or settle in for a Sunday session with free jazz on the resident piano ‘Fats’. My only quibble with my experience on the second day of opening was that the separated main central corridor meant that waiters would walk up and down serving customers but not necessarily look sideways (to the banquettes) and I had a little bit of trouble catching people’s eye. Hopefully they’ll iron out these small issues as Green Park settles into its new digs.

Green Park, 815 Nicholson Street, Carlton North (03) 9380 5455

Daily 7am–11pm

minilink HOT: Green Park, 815 Nicholson Street, Carlton North

HOT: Station Street Trading Company, 166 Station St, Port Melbourne

Station Street Trading Company 166 Station St Port Melbourne 2 HOT: Station Street Trading Company, 166 Station St, Port Melbourne

In a pretty pocket of Port Melbourne, on leafy Station Street, you’ll find Station Street Trading Company.

Station Street Trading Company 166 Station St Port Melbourne 3 HOT: Station Street Trading Company, 166 Station St, Port Melbourne

It’s a snug corner cafe run by the owners of Armadale’s Coin Laundry. The space isn’t huge either inside or out, so when the weather’s nice take advantage of the provided rugs and wicker hampers with made to order picnics so that you can enjoy your meal al fresco at Smith Reserve across the way, with the 109 light rail dinging past at regular intervals.

Station Street Trading Company 166 Station St Port Melbourne 5 HOT: Station Street Trading Company, 166 Station St, Port Melbourne

The cafe menu is short and sweet and the raspberry doughnut immediately caught my eye. It’s actually a round of egg-fried brioche cut into the shape of a doughnut, with a pile of macerated raspberries and mascarpone spilling out from the hidey-hole ($15). It’s delicious and decadent but not really filling so we go revised the savoury side of the menu.

Station Street Trading Company 166 Station St Port Melbourne 4 HOT: Station Street Trading Company, 166 Station St, Port Melbourne

The sweet-corn and herb fritters with tomato and avocado salsa comes lined up in a pretty row, with a perfectly oozy poached egg crowning the platter. The fritters are fluffy, not stodgy and the super-fresh tomatoes gives a healthy and fragrant touch to the plate.

Station Street Trading Company 166 Station St Port Melbourne 1 HOT: Station Street Trading Company, 166 Station St, Port Melbourne

As our brunch was starting to move into midday we ordered a lunchtime salad of honey roasted pumpkin and quinoa salad with some Morrocan spiced lamb. This dish was an example of how beautiful ingredients cooked simply can make an amazing dish. The meat was fork tender and mixed with fat slabs of sweet pumpkin and a cornucopia of dried fruits, almonds, herbs and a dab of preserved lemon labneh. It was the highlight of our meal.

Station Street Trading Company is an example that size isn’t everything. From a tiny kitchen they produce delicious, polished food to a relatively cafe-less part of Port Melbourne. The coffee is by Allpress, the sweet treats is by Lune Croissanterie (incidentally run by one of the owner’s sisters) and it’s been awarded 3  stars in 2014’s Good Food Under $30.. The locals must be grateful!

Station Street Trading Company, 166 Station St, Port Melbourne 9646 6663

Mon – Fri: 7:30 am – 3:00 pm

Sat – Sun: 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

 
minilink HOT: Station Street Trading Company, 166 Station St, Port Melbourne

HOT: Sweet Evelyn, 128 Union St, Brunswick

Sweet Evelyn 128 Union St Brunswick 11 HOT: Sweet Evelyn, 128 Union St, Brunswick

Sweet Evelyn is a Brunswick cafe and micro bakery which is as sweet as its name (apparently named after the owners’ daughter).

Sweet Evelyn 128 Union St Brunswick 5 HOT: Sweet Evelyn, 128 Union St, Brunswick

All the baked goods are made fresh on site every day, from the large range of cupcakes to the brownies, cookies and savouries – only the bread and croissants are brought in from Dench Bakery. They only use free range eggs and where possible, organic ingredients. They also serve up a simple all day breakfast and lunch menu with most items under $15 – a bargain in brunch-mad Brunswick. Coffee is from Reverence and in fact you can find their cakes at Reverence cafe in Ascot Vale.

The cafe is spacious and there’s a back courtyard for warmer days. Though a bit of fake grass to soften the look and feel of the bare concrete would be appreciated.

Sweet Evelyn 128 Union St Brunswick 1 HOT: Sweet Evelyn, 128 Union St, Brunswick

Three of us stopped by for afternoon tea and indulged in a white chocolate raspberry cupcake, a caramel popcorn cupcake, a dotty chocolate biscuit bigger than a toddler’s head and a slice of gluten free beetroot chocolate cake. I know – that’s more serves of cake than people at the table! That’s how irresistible everything was on the counter.

Sweet Evelyn 128 Union St Brunswick 7 HOT: Sweet Evelyn, 128 Union St, Brunswick

Sweet Evelyn 128 Union St Brunswick 10 HOT: Sweet Evelyn, 128 Union St, Brunswick

The cupcake base was a little dense but still quite moist (the caramel cupcake had caramel inside as well), while the buttercream frosting was marshmallow light. The chocolate cake was a decadent, muddy mixture with a chocolate avocado mousse and a sprinkling of pistachios. It’s worthwhile licking every crumb off the plate as it’s relatively guilt-free because it contains veges!

Sweet Evelyn 128 Union St Brunswick 9 HOT: Sweet Evelyn, 128 Union St, Brunswick

The combination of delicious home made treats, super-friendly service and play time opportunities if you have kids in tow, I will definitely be heading back to Sweet Evelyn.  Next time I’m going to try the brioche doughnuts!

Sweet Evelyn, 128 Union St, Brunswick 0432 189 744

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday: 7:30am- 4pm

Tuesday: Closed

Friday, Saturday: 7:30 – 6pm

minilink HOT: Sweet Evelyn, 128 Union St, Brunswick

HOT: Butcher 128, 128 Roberts St, Yarraville

 Butcher 128 128 Roberts St Yarraville 2 HOT: Butcher 128, 128 Roberts St, Yarraville

Suburban Yarraville has sprouted a inner-north-like hipster haven called Butcher 128. The cafe has been converted from an old butcher’s shop and some of the signage is still intact. It’s located at number 128 Roberts Street. Simple equation = Butcher 128.

Butcher 128 128 Roberts St Yarraville 7 HOT: Butcher 128, 128 Roberts St, Yarraville

Butcher 128 128 Roberts St Yarraville 9 HOT: Butcher 128, 128 Roberts St, Yarraville

The front room is all aqua and black subway tiles and naked bulb lights with a steel butcher’s rack hanging over the coffee counter.

Butcher 128 128 Roberts St Yarraville 12 HOT: Butcher 128, 128 Roberts St, Yarraville

The back dining area lets the butchery aesthetic go for some wooden built-ins, an awesome combination of wooden banquettes and alcoves.

Butcher 128 128 Roberts St Yarraville 3 HOT: Butcher 128, 128 Roberts St, Yarraville

I particularly liked the high communal table with an inbuilt herb garden hiding little dinosaur visitors.

Butcher 128 128 Roberts St Yarraville 5 HOT: Butcher 128, 128 Roberts St, Yarraville

Butcher 128 128 Roberts St Yarraville 1 HOT: Butcher 128, 128 Roberts St, Yarraville

As a former Fitzroy resident, I felt right at home in the uber-cool decor. Better still, so did my kids, as it was a very child-friendly cafe, with high chairs, change facilities, kids menu and even a sandpit out the back.

The menu was split into breakfast from the deli, breakfast from the kitchen, lunch from the deli and lunch from the kitchen – basically a choice between hot meals and cold meals/baked goods.

Butcher 128 128 Roberts St Yarraville 10 HOT: Butcher 128, 128 Roberts St, Yarraville

I ordered the hot smoked salmon with a tangy pickled beetroot relish, Persian feta, avocado and two perfect sous vide poached eggs ($16.50). The waiter told me that cooking the eggs sous vide means that they can be done in advance and just gently reheated while the yolk remains gorgeously runny and the whites just set (Correction: the owner told me “the reason they sous vide our eggs is not so that we can prepare in advance, but water bathing the eggs to our specific recipe before we poached them to order gives us better yolk consistency and texture every time (in our opinion)”). These were some of the best poached eggs I’ve had in a while.

Butcher 128 128 Roberts St Yarraville 4 HOT: Butcher 128, 128 Roberts St, Yarraville

T opted for a simple croissant with ham and brie ($8) which was nothing remarkable though the croissant (from Noisette I believe?) was flaky and buttery.

Butcher 128 128 Roberts St Yarraville 11 HOT: Butcher 128, 128 Roberts St, Yarraville

The coffee comes from boutique roaster of Maling Room.

Butcher 128 is a great addition to Yarraville and is just off the bike path too. In that sense it fits my criteria for the perfect cafe – child-friendly, bike-friendly plus of course with good food and service.

Butcher 128, 128 Roberts St, Yarraville (03) 9318 0975

Tuesday-Friday 7am-3pm

Saturday-Sunday 8am-4pm

minilink HOT: Butcher 128, 128 Roberts St, Yarraville

HOT: Hawthorn Common, 302 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn

Hawthorn Common 302 Burwood Road Hawthorn 2 HOT: Hawthorn Common, 302 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn

Hawthorn Common is a café that’s all about environmental sustainability and a complete wholefoods lifestyle.

If that’s too many buzzwords in one food philosophy for you, check out the work that’s going on Hawthorn Common first. The cafe were recently recognised in The Age’s Good Food Under $30 2014 where they took out the gong for ‘sustainable café champ’.

As you climb the stairs the place opens out into an expansive indoor-outdoor space. When I arrive early Saturday morning there’s a yoga class earnestly asana-ing on one corner of the outdoor deck that’s dotted with planters. (Yoga and coffee on the deck is $20 Saturdays 7:30am).

Hawthorn Common 302 Burwood Road Hawthorn HOT: Hawthorn Common, 302 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn

On a sunny day the deck is where you should be but rather than stare at bums in the air I chose to take a seat inside the banquette-lined dining area, facing the coffee counter while owner Danny Colls (ex Silo by Joost) pumped out coffees.

Hawthorn Common 302 Burwood Road Hawthorn 5 HOT: Hawthorn Common, 302 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn

A row of laughing portraits face line the walls, a happy collection of family, friends, staff and suppliers that gives a clue as to the origin of the café’s ‘common’ moniker. Even Colls’ baby daughter gazes down from the wall, facing a large round communal table adorned by a large Coco Flip pendant lamp turned from Victorian ash.

Hawthorn Common 302 Burwood Road Hawthorn 4 HOT: Hawthorn Common, 302 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn

Hawthorn Common needs to inhabit such an expansive space because they do a lot of things inhouse. They roast their own coffee, grow their own herbs, culture their yoghurt, ferment pickles and bottle preserves, mill the flour fresh every day for their house-baked bread and even hand roll the oats for your porridge fresh to order. Their café’s ethos is to form a closed loop – the menu says that all the produce is ”milled, rolled, fermented, baked, preserved, dried and roasted while organic waste composted and returned to grow again’.

The menu is small but evidently a lot of care has gone into the ingredients and the chef Stefano Rosi hails from Café Vue and Vue du Monde. To start (and to make up for not being at yoga class) I order a kale, apple, grapes, kiwi and almond milk smoothie ($7), a good way to absorb a hit of greenery to start the day.

Hawthorn Common 302 Burwood Road Hawthorn 6 HOT: Hawthorn Common, 302 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn

Then onto a more substantial breakfast of house made baked beans with a spicy lamb sausage, two perfectly poached eggs and an oven roasted tomato ($20). It’s colourful and filling and the sausage provides a good hit of chilli.

Hawthorn Common 302 Burwood Road Hawthorn 3 HOT: Hawthorn Common, 302 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn

The brunch menu starts at 11:30am and includes small snacks, salads, tasting plates (a platter of carrots anyone?) before moving into meals proper, such as the ox pie with pickles which caught my eye.

Hawthorn Common is an impressive undertaking. They espouse the term ‘sustainability’ in a practical way, not just mouthing the words on their menu, and they’ve built a community-minded space for Hawthorn locals. The food is virtuous without being smug and most importantly, it’s delicious.

Hawthorn Common, 302 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn 03 9819 2200

Mon to Thu 7am – 4pm
Fri 7 am – 11pm
Sat to Sun 7am – 4pm

minilink HOT: Hawthorn Common, 302 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn

HOT: The Stables of Como, Como House and Gardens, cnr Williams Rd and Lechlade Ave, South Yarra


The Stables of Como Como House and Gardens cnr Williams Rd and Lechlade Ave South Yarra 4 HOT: The Stables of Como, Como House and Gardens, cnr Williams Rd and Lechlade Ave, South Yarra

For a cafe that’s not on a high street or eating/shopping strip, The Stables of Como is one super-busy eatery.

It’s a spacious place (though not cavernous) and on a weekday lunch hour there was still a  queue for an indoor or outdoor table. And it wasn’t just the ladies-who-lunch and the yummy-mummies of Toorak and South Yarra turning up. I saw hipsters! Hipsters at a National Trust property!

For The Stables of Como is not just any old cafe. It’s located amongst the beautiful landscaped gardens of Como House, a 160 year old property just minutes from urban Melbourne, and is housed in, you guessed it, the former stables of the grand mansion.

Perhaps the reason people are making The Stables of Como a dining destination  is because of its pedigree. The group behind Eastern suburb favourites Porgie + Mr. Jones, Snow Pony and Friends of Mine are the people behind the cafe and the diverse menu, friendly smiling staff and attention to detail in the decor demonstrate their hospitality experience.

On a sunny day the picnic benches resting on fake turf are in hot demand, but the interior decoration is just as beautiful. Enamel pendant light shades, white bentwood chairs and elegant floral arrangements offset chalkboard walls, a back shelf groaning with colour-coordinated jars of produce…and one huge wooden bench beckoning you with glass-domed cakes, biscuits and pastries, like a grown-up version of a toddler’s birthday party lolly table.

The Stables of Como Como House and Gardens cnr Williams Rd and Lechlade Ave South Yarra 5 HOT: The Stables of Como, Como House and Gardens, cnr Williams Rd and Lechlade Ave, South Yarra

The kitchen offers all day breakfast menu and lunch dishes which start at 12 midday. I opted for a main serve size of a spring risotto, a velvety mix of rice, spanner crab and fennel, finished off with prosecco and herbed marscapone for extra decadence ($24.90).

The Stables of Como Como House and Gardens cnr Williams Rd and Lechlade Ave South Yarra 8 HOT: The Stables of Como, Como House and Gardens, cnr Williams Rd and Lechlade Ave, South Yarra

My dining companion Gourmet Chick had the Tuna Nicoise ($24.90), an outrageously large slab of just-seared tuna served with a mix of vegetables, a drizzle of smoky lemon vinaigrette and crowned with an oozy soft-boiled egg.

The Stables of Como Como House and Gardens cnr Williams Rd and Lechlade Ave South Yarra 7 HOT: The Stables of Como, Como House and Gardens, cnr Williams Rd and Lechlade Ave, South Yarra

As I mentioned before it is well worth saving room for dessert. We shared a frangipane and blueberry tart ($5.50) which was very pretty but too dry, leaving a rather unpleasant mealy texture in the mouth.

The Stables of Como Como House and Gardens cnr Williams Rd and Lechlade Ave South Yarra 2 HOT: The Stables of Como, Como House and Gardens, cnr Williams Rd and Lechlade Ave, South Yarra

A better option was the orange Bergamot NY baked cheesecake with gingerbread ice cream ($13.90). I have not had a New York baked cheesecake since those solid doorstopper cakes were all the range in the 90s, but this is a very good version – not too heavy, not too light, just right and with a hint of citrus to spike the dairy richness. The gingerbread crumbs and ice cream also elevated it above the norm.

The Stables of Como Como House and Gardens cnr Williams Rd and Lechlade Ave South Yarra 1 HOT: The Stables of Como, Como House and Gardens, cnr Williams Rd and Lechlade Ave, South Yarra

Other old-fashioned treats which will be sure to appeal to children or those with a fondness for sweets that hark back to sticky childhoods include the musk sticks ($1.90) and giant chocolate freckle ($2.50).

The Stables of Como Como House and Gardens cnr Williams Rd and Lechlade Ave South Yarra 6 HOT: The Stables of Como, Como House and Gardens, cnr Williams Rd and Lechlade Ave, South Yarra

If you’re visiting Como House and Gardens but don’t fancy a sit-down mea, The Stables of Como offers picnic packs and you can even rent a croquet set, frisbee and rugs to loll on! What a beautiful way to spend a day (and from 22-24 November the Paris to Provence French Festival will be taking over the grounds as well – check out my review of last year’s event).

The Stables of Como, Como House and Gardens, cnr Williams Rd and Lechlade Ave, South Yarra (03) 9942 3630 

Monday to Saturday, 9am until 5pm
Sunday, 10am until 5pm

minilink HOT: The Stables of Como, Como House and Gardens, cnr Williams Rd and Lechlade Ave, South Yarra


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HOT: Common Galaxia, Shop 3/130 Victoria St, Seddon

Common Galaxia Shop 3130 Victoria St Seddon 3 HOT: Common Galaxia, Shop 3/130 Victoria St, Seddon

Common Galaxia sounds like a solar system from outer space, but in fact this cafe’s name derives from something more prosaic – Common Galaxias are silvery little whitebait which are found in the nearby Maribyrnong river (and in many rivers around the world).

I really like the poetic tale about them on the website ‘The Common Galaxias is a tiny reminder that nature will survive everything we build, and you can only ever borrow a spot on the bends of a river. A spot like this one…’ – being increasingly gentrified Victoria Street, Seddon.

In this still evolving strip of neighbourhood cafes and shops Common Galaxia stands out for its consistently excellent Seven Seeds coffee, the famous ‘Morkchocolate’ and the award-nominated interior design by previous owner Luke Mutton (who also owns Dead Man Espresso) in collaboration with the builder Fido Projects and with custom fittings by Justin Lamont of Life Space Journey.

The result is like being inside a beautiful wooden ship, with a mixture of American oak veneer, raw steel, copper, powder-coated fixtures and the whoosh of the coffee machine like the tooting of a steamer’s horn (for more interiors photos, click here).

Common Galaxia Shop 3130 Victoria St Seddon 4 HOT: Common Galaxia, Shop 3/130 Victoria St, Seddon

I’m also particularly enamoured by the beautifully crafted adjustable wooden stools by Illogical Study that line the window bench.

Common Galaxia Shop 3130 Victoria St Seddon 2 HOT: Common Galaxia, Shop 3/130 Victoria St, Seddon

Now for the food. The cafe is open daytime only so the menu is split into bakery, fruit and cereal, eggs and brunch and then sandwiches and larger lunch dishes from 11:30am. I try the fried egg with pancetta, potato and leek which is filling and loaded with hearty, rib-sticking savoury flavours.

Common Galaxia Shop 3130 Victoria St Seddon 1 HOT: Common Galaxia, Shop 3/130 Victoria St, Seddon

RM has a grilled ham and cheese sandwich which is fairly unexciting on its own but is saved with some spicy tomato relish that we also took home.

Common Galaxia Shop 3130 Victoria St Seddon 5 HOT: Common Galaxia, Shop 3/130 Victoria St, Seddon

And while it was still technically breakfast time we couldn’t go past the iced chocolate made with Jock’s Ice Cream and Mork chocolate ($6). It’s a delicious, icy, sweet concoction which is really just an excuse to drink dessert – go on and indulge!

Common Galaxia Shop 3130 Victoria St Seddon 6 HOT: Common Galaxia, Shop 3/130 Victoria St, Seddon

Common Galaxia is a firm favourite of westies and as of last week Common Galaxia has new owners – the Fox family – so it’ll be interesting to see what changes, if any, will result from the new hands. 

Common Galaxia, Shop 3/130 Victoria St, Seddon +61 3 9689 0309

Tue – Fri 7:30am – 4pm

Sat – Sun 8am – 4pm

minilink HOT: Common Galaxia, Shop 3/130 Victoria St, Seddon


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