Paddock to plate is one of the latest buzz concepts in Melbourne at the moment and it’s great to see more cafes adopting this philosophy. Over on Whitehorse Road in Balywn, Scarvelli Cafe is really taking this concept to the next level , sourcing the best quality local produce on the market, much of it being from local farmers and even their very own backyard!
The owners Clare and her husband John, have a sustainable farm down on the Bellarine Peninsula at Swan Bay complete with animals, a vegetable garden and a small fruit orchard. They try to grow as much of the fresh produce as possible to craft their seasonal menu at Scarvelli Cafe. Clare is particularly passionate about creating a greater awareness about where fresh food comes from and how it gets from the farmer to our table.
Joining the likes of brunch hot spots Mr Hendricks and Snow Pony, Scarvelli Cafe is the latest cafe to join the foodie forces in Balwyn, which shows the suburb is not just a destination for locals, but for tourists too.
Upon entering Scarvelli Cafe, you’re immediately struck by a warm, friendly atmosphere. The place is full of charm and personality. From the photos and notes from the staff in the stairwell to the coffee mural feature wall, it’s no surprise that Scarvelli is so well-loved by the locals. Service is attentive and knowledgeable and you can tell they love what they do. In a market where there is huge changeover of hospitality staff, Scarvelli Cafe has managed to retain most staff from the beginning of their journey two years ago.
The cafe is larger than it looks. There’s a cute little sitting room at the front which buzzes with the entry of new customers and the hum of a well oiled La Marzocco coffee machine. Another little dining room full of rustic furniture is located at the back with a towering deer’s head mounted on the wall. But it’s the small details here which really make it feel like home – like the freshly picked long-stemmed flowers in little vases, the “reserved” scrabble table signs and the hessian sacks filled with cosy blankets, perfect for chilly days.
A while tiled counter is at the epicentre of the activity, laden with a sumptuous array of freshly baked cakes and pastries and most importantly, a bright orange La Marzocco coffee machine which churns out hundreds of quality brews every day. They also sell their own range of pastes, sauces and “grow in the bag” parsley, coriander and basil so you can plant your own herbs at home.
Don’t miss the little courtyard out the back which is perfect for sunny days. It gives you a taste of some of the things you can expect to see at the farm in the Bellarine.
The house blend coffee roasted by Industry Beans is ‘Fitzroy Street,’ a gorgeous blend of sweet citrus, plum and chocolate notes. There’s also a cold drip, filter and a good rotation of single origins available. The baristas are more that happy to make recommendations and discuss the tasting notes for each blend.
The menu is full of a tasty range of dishes, which showcase the best of seasonal and local produce.There’s a super food infused good life bowl for the health conscious, an avo smash with whipped hommus and a taste bud tantalising dukkah eggs with cauliflower puree and pomegranate. Lunch goers will be treated to an equally delicious range – including a succulent wagyu burger with all the trimmings and the Swan Bay braised lamb and beef.
For now, let’s get back to the breakfast. A large bowl of comforting quinoa and coconut porridge ($13) was the perfect morning treat. Soaked in coconut milk, the white quinoa had a beautiful texture, a hint of maple syrup sweetening it ever so slightly. A rippling of strawberry compote and summer berries really brought the dish to life giving it a fruity punch to complement the citrus notes of the lemon balm. Chia seeds, sesames and pepitas combined with cinnamon and coconut oil to create a luscious chia crumble which provided a gorgeous textural contrast to the dish. The porridge is also gluten and dairy free.
One of the house favourites is the wood fired smoked salmon salad. Generous chunks of smoked salmon literally fall apart with the slightest of nudges, the woodfiring giving it a delicious smokey flavour. Cubes of crisp polenta gems were the perfect companion to the avocado, rocket, quinoa and charred corn salad. A further load of protein was added by a perfectly poached egg on top, finished off with a generous drizzling of mustard seed dressing.
Overall a really delicious breakfast experience – I can’t wait to come back to try more of the menu. With cafes like Scarvelli, Balwyn will become one of Melbourne’s next food destinations.
Highlight – The wood fired smoked salmon Low light – Limited sweet breakfast items for sweet tooths
Overall Rating 8/10 (Food 8/10, Service 9/10, Atmopshere 8/10, Value for Money 8/10).
A 143 Whitehorse Road, Balwyn, Melbourne
T 03 9816 8887