137 Waverley Road
Malvern East, VIC 3145
03 9571 7495
I recently started watching Friday Night Lights – out of nowhere, really, although I am a massive One Tree Hill fan and have been told that the two are fairly similar. For anyone who hasn’t seen the show (FNL, that is), it’s about a high school football team from a small town called Dillon that deals with its fair share of ups and downs as the tight-knit Texan community rallies behind it. I had my doubts about it at first. I mean, for one thing, I’m not a sports-mad person, least of all American football, which – up until a couple of weeks ago – I had zero interest in. Secondly, it was all I could do to keep up with the Southern drawl. But four seasons in, I’m absolutely loving it. It’s such an underrated show.
Like FNL, a huge chunk of Melbourne’s culinary scene is also way, way underrated. Maybe we simply like going to the same places, but regardless, it’s a shame so many of the usual suspects get all the airtime. Servery and Spoon wasn’t even on my radar until good friend G (bless her) gave a stellar recommendation. She then proceeded to gush over the uber-cute display of cakes and desserts and the equally charming gourmet produce store next door, and well…who can say no to cake? 😉 So, in a post-gym hankering for hash browns and other cheeky treats, C and I hurtled off to the Malvern East eatery for a feed that pretty much undid all the effort that went into our morning workout.
S & S sports the industrial chic fit-out that most Melbourne cafés seem to nurse a soft spot for. We were seated in the rear dining area, a mish-mash of vibrant seat cushions, timber tables and kooky artwork. To be honest, I’m yet to find some place that breaks the usual mould, but S & S does the restored look really well and manages to inject a little warmth into the otherwise neutral palette.
To kick things off, I ordered a chai tea, the perfect pick-me-up given the miserable weather that day. The lovely chai flavour was like a big bear hug. Me being the complete and utter airhead that I am, I forgot to note down drink prices, but whatever I paid, it was totally worth it.
Meanwhile, in pursuit of both a caffeine and sugar hit, C opted for a mocha that she downed with equal gusto.
S & S’s menu didn’t disappoint. Baklava French toast, slow-roasted tomatoes, salmon and sweet corn blinis…talk about being spoiled for choice! There’s something on there for everyone, and a handful of gluten-free options, which was good to see. After some serious deliberation, I went with my gut and settled on the crispy dukkah crusted eggs with smashed avocado, sautéed spinach and fetta on sourdough (15.5).
Apparently my gut knows what’s up. My eggs were cooked beautifully, and all the flavours and textures on the plate– from the crunchy dukkah crust to the creamy crumbled fetta – had my taste buds in a tizzy.
C went for the fresh herb pikelets topped with caramelised beetroot, horseradish crème fraiche and snow pea tendrils (16.5). A few bites in, she noted that the overwhelming amount of horseradish wiped out any flavour the pikelets might have had, but, unpredictably, the beetroot was the hero of the dish. After sampling it myself, I came to the same conclusion – and I don’t even like beetroot!
And, oh my, those hash browns! There I was expecting deep-fried potato goodness of the Maccas variety – and we ended up with the super-super-sized versions (4.0 each). Crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside, these bad boys were all sorts of awesome.
Even though we were stuffed and ready to roll out the door on our sides by this point, the salted caramel slice samples on offer next door lured us into the grocery store. And boy did we find ourselves in foodie heaven – freshly baked bread, ready-made soups, salads, frittatas, sweets galore – you name it, it was there. We also spied packets of vanilla and pistachio-flavoured Persian fairy floss that, of course, had to be taken home.
We did make it out of there, eventually. I’m so psyched to have found a new favourite local gem – next to Huff, that is. Something tells me I’ll be back real soon.