Situated in a small suburban shopping strip right near Laburnum station, I first came across this cafe in The Age Good Cafe Guide, and decided to visit in my quest to find top notch coffee east of Hawthorn. We've visited this little cafe twice, for breakfast and lunch, and have found it a popular kid-friendly cafe for the locals.
Seating inside is cosy, and a booster seat is available on request, with a basketful of books and toys in the corner declaring their readiness for little ones. Outdoor seating gives good access for prams and pets, and would be lovely on sunny days. (Unfortunately it was cold and a bit wet on both our visits.)
Breakfast is served 8:30am - 3pm daily, and lunch from 11:30pm - 3pm, with the menu offering a good variety of the usual suspects and also interesting items on the specials board.
If you're not up for a meal, there's a full cake display to go with drinks for a catch up with friends. Most items are standard fare that don't look like they were baked or prepared on the premises.
Unfortunately Hubby and I were disappointed with the coffee. The cappuccino and mocha were both under tamped and too bitter to the palate. ($3.8 each)
mocha (yes it looks exactly the same as the cap!
On another occasion I had a tea with scone combo ($7), with a generous pot of tea, a large but average tasting scone, and a serve of jam and cream.
The first time I was there I ordered the Bacon and Eggs (I chose poached), served on Turkish Bread with relish and roquette ($14). This was quite pleasant with a decent serve of bacon. However I don't think I got turkish bread, and for some strange reason the bread they gave me was sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. Whilst this turned out to be quite nice, I didn't expect it with a serve of bacon and eggs, and the waitress verified that this isn't usual and that the kitchen might have accidentally served it up incorrectly.
The whole gang was there for the second visit and we started with Gav's Big Breakfast, described as The Works ($20). Certainly a big serve. I am used to the avocado being a bit more "rustically smashed" rather than straight from the peel, but not a big problem. The relish was the best part of this dish, giving an otherwise fairly ordinary and heavy big brekkie a tangy lift.
The Eggs Benedict ($17) was described as poached eggs, ham and sauteed spinach on a toasted English muffin with hollandaise sauce. A relatively big serve of EB, but I was pretty disappointed that the spinach was not sauteed as described. Baby spinach is one of those vegetables that is totally transformed in taste when cooked, and certainly this made a big difference to how I envisioned this dish. Not my favourite serve of Eggs Benedict.
Finally, Alex's Lasagne ($17) with salad was fairly expensive for again a pretty average dish. Grated carrot thrown on mixed leaves with balsalmic is more lazy-food-court than classy cafe.
Certainly the coffee was a big let down for us, and we wonder if the cafe has changed hands since The Age Good Cafe Guide had visited?
Eat.Play.Shop. Says : Inner Suburb prices for an uninspiring spread in the outer suburbs. For the same price I would drive to Balwyn for Snow Pony.