Previously a service station and mechanics garage in Elsternwick, in Melbourne's southeast, this gorgeous building has been given a second life after lying dormant for almost a decade. Given the Tudor façade + the icy June wind blowing, you'd be fooled for thinking you were in the English countryside - save for the fact that you're only a short drive from St. Kilda beach.
The courtyard is now filled with greenery + outdoor umbrellas - but the original station emblem remains on the wall. Similarly, the interior has been transformed into elegant casual dining with an enormous amount of natural lighting + a beautiful feeling of open space. I was in study mode so I grabbed a quiet corner table and settled in for a few hours of exam revision.
First stop - coffee! The espresso blend is provided by Dukes Coffee Roasters, a coffee I'm slowly becoming more familiar with (also found at Journeyman). My flat white was vibrant with tasty notes of red apple, caramel, milk chocolate + cherry.
As well as serving Dukes there is a variety of single-origin available for your short-black, chai, juices, milk shakes + an enticing selection of Impala + Peacock Teas. I wish I'd noticed the 'barista breakfast' on the menu before ordering as it sounds delightful: a single origin espresso, house-blend flat white + filtered batch brew. It's like the breakfast board of coffee!
The in-season menu is not only organic and free-range whenever possible, but also enticingly contemporary - a huge credit to chef Brett Hobbs (formerly Little Tommy Tucker). There is a home-grown veggie patch out the back which grows some of the kitchen's own herbs, and if the description of 'winter' on the menu can't convince you to embrace that arctic wind - nothing will!
Eggs benedict-otway ham hock, hollandaise + apple
As far as benedict's go - this is easily one of the best I've tried recently! And for me it came down to two key things: firstly, the ham hock was sublime. Melt-in-your-mouth tender but still chunky when served on the plate - leaving me with the pleasure of pulling it apart. The serving size was generous + the taste was rich and juicy. Secondly, the thinly sliced fresh green apples were, for me, the perfect accompaniment - adding the necessary crunch and zest to the ham, the gooey poached eggs + the delicate creamy hollandaise. The toast was lovely, but a bit too crunchy around the edges.
Throughout my morning, the service was exceptional. The staff were super attentive + genuinely friendly, but also seemed to be aware and sensitive to their various customers' needs - having a lovely chat to the ladies at the table next to me but thankfully respecting my need for minimal disruption while studying.
From what I observed, the cafe's customer-focus is exemplified right from the top. Owner Jim Marinis exudes passion - I watched as he welcomed everyone who came in that morning with a huge smile... and when you pair that atmosphere with a delicious and socially-conscious menu, you've got a winning combination. I've already told my husband that a revisit is a must (and soon!).
Inlovewithbrunch verdict: Glovers service station get's a new lease on life!