The burbs, they are getting better. No longer is it unusual for a new café opening to be in the heartland of tree lined streets, school mums and family cars, and for that cafe to be worth a visit. One such café is Little Chloe in Malvern East. It takes its coffee seriously; roasting its own beans, a La Marzocco Strada on the bench and five or so alternative brew methods for the coffee nerds. Every coffee I have had has been beautifully extracted usually with a chocolate finish.
There is a lot to like here and the staff is high on that list. They effortlessly manage a nice balance of friendly and attentive – there when you need them, but not hanging around when you don’t. On my first visit they had only been open a couple of days but already seemed to be finding their rhythm, something you don’t always come across.
The all day breakfast menu has some interesting twists on old favourites and a couple of surprises. Pork belly in steamed buns with carrot daikon pickle and a shimeji & cabbage salad is not on every breakfast menu, but maybe it should be. The pork was tender and the salad and pickle cut through the richness perfectly. A mixed mushroom omelette was cooked well and seemed light and fresh. Don’t worry if you are not in the mood for breakfast, there is a short lunch menu that, in the summer months, featured salads and fish and now that the days are cooler will tempt you with perhaps a Thai yellow prawn curry, orecchiete with a lamb ragout or a braised fennel risotto. The smoked ham hock and red lentil soup with smoked yoghurt and pomegranate molasses, was hearty without being too heavy, warming and full of flavour.
The fit out is inviting. Clean lines and modern without looking like every other café that has opened lately. I particularly like the cubed wooden blocks in the feature wall and espresso bar. Wood features throughout the interior add texture to the environment without making it feel overly masculine or heavy.
Thought has clearly gone into every aspect of Little Chloe – from the simple but beautiful table pieces to the front page of the menu. It is a thank you note to the suppliers and people who made it happen. It is nice to see a little story for each rather than just a list of companies.
I am not ready to give up inner city life and buy an SUV, but I am still happy to make the short trip to a gem like this.
Little Chloe Café is at 1810 Malvern Road, Malvern East and is open seven days a week. 7am – 3:30pm weekdays and 8am – 4pm on weekends. (03) 9699 4054