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Best Café: Time Out Food Awards 2016

Coffee and daytime meals delivered with panache


Winner: Second Home

It may be a hike out east to visit this shining jewel in Melbourne’s café crown, but no one ever said all the good things had to be in the middle. Jason M Jones (Friends of Mine, Porgie and Mr Jones) has opened his latest venture in a former art gallery on a quiet Eltham backstreet. The space is gorgeous, with soaring ceilings, timber beams and wrap-around skylights. A boxed tree sits in the middle of the room and striking landscape photography adorns the walls. We’re already in love and we haven’t eaten yet.

They’re pumping out robust espresso from Rosso Roasting Co beans, smoothies fortified with healthy nibs and nuts, green tea lattes (perfect with almond milk and honey) and plenty of food-friendly wines by the glass. Oh yes: day drinking is A-OK here. The menu is temptation writ large – we wonder if the place would have been more appropriately christened Second Stomach. Take the chicken saltimbocca. Sweet, tender meat (free-range of course) is wrapped in crisp prosciutto and placed in a moat of white polenta with fried sage leaves for a herbal crunch. For something more travel-sized a toasted croissant provides flaky, buttery housing for fat, juicy roasted mushrooms, melted Emmental cheese and béchamel, and how can you not love a place that lets you order spaghetti for breakfast?

Everything here is executed with care and generosity, down to the hot chocolate: a fluffy, rich drink topped with chocolate shavings with a giant marshmallow iced in chocolate sauce and toasted coconut. This is the sort of fare that makes your heart sing.

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The menu references health trends, with plenty of chia seeds, kale (purple) and quinoa (tri-coloured, even), but we’ll be going back for the cauliflower hash. You can’t have a bad day after breakfast here.

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Those 15-metre-high ceilings and glorious arched windows give your morning coffee a grandeur not often afforded a humble latte, and Nate Wilkins’ day menu is inventive and exciting.

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At this new addition to Koornang Road they’re busting out beautifully balanced Niccolo coffee, Golden Grind (an exotic turmeric, cinnamon and ginger drink) and the food is splendid too.

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Here the pancakes are lamington-flavoured, a bagel is scented with lavender and there’s duck sausage with your eggs Benedict. The lobster donut burger unexpectedly light and quite delicious.

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See all the winners

Time Out Food Awards 2016

Time Out crowns the champions of Melbourne's restaurant scene, from Restaurant of the Year to Best Café.

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By: Time Out editors

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