op shops and laneways

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, then you know that the part of Melbourne that I live in is not exactly brimming with culinary goodness. However, if you venture up to Eltham, in Melbourne’s north, there are a few noteworthy exceptions: Montsalvat, a beautiful medieval-style artists’ colony that also used to house a jazz festival but also has a small French restaurant (you can see some photos of a visit made to Montsalvat here). Then there’s Mercer’s which has made it into The Age Good Food Guide a fair few times (post on a visit coming soon!).

Then there’s a tiny former op shop that’s been converted to a cafe during the day and a bar by night called The Lane. It is opposite the fantastic Eltham Bookshop which is very supportive of its local poetry scene. The Lane had made it into The Age Cheap Eats and as T and I are fairly local to the area, we sought to check it out.

The breakfast-brunchy options are quite nice, and indeed quite cheap – the big breakfast being the only item over $15. The first time we went, T got sautéed spinach and poached eggs on toast with citrus mayonnaise. As you can see, it’s a fairly generous serve and T was more than sated.

Citrus poached eggs

I ordered the French toast with stewed apple and maple syrup. I asked for an additional side of bacon. How good is bacon, French toast and maple syrup, seriously?! I loved it. Sorry about the blurry photo – this is quite old and taken when I wasn’t so…careful (read: food blogger wankster)!

French toast with stewed apple

The next time we went there was to catch up with T’s mother who also lives in the area. I was very pleased to learn that The Lane participates in a programme run by the Australian Poetry Centre called ‘Cafe Poets’ – where a cafe ‘adopts’ a poet. When we arrived, T’s mother W was reading a book by the poet. You are also encouraged to write your own poems and drop them into a box there for the purpose. I want to go back and write something!

On this occasion, T got the big breakfast – it looks gorgeous, but T said that it’s really just as good as a big breakfast you can make at home yourself. That’s a bit disappointing.

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Sadly, I slightly echoed T’s sentiments with my choice of the scrambled eggs and ham with seeded mustard. The scrambled eggs weren’t quite fluffy enough, though the dish was still yummy. I must remember to have to ham and eggs together more often. It feels less guilty than bacon!

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W chose the homemade baked beans on toast and she really seemed to love it. Baked beans sometimes just hit the spot.

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I probably won’t be suggesting inner-city types jump in their cars to head to The Lane (or worse still, grab a Hurstbridge line train…it’s not too far from Eltham station), but if you live in the area it is worth the visit. Sometimes you just want to head to a quiet local that hasn’t been hit up with ThreeThousand-reading hipsters or food bloggers hungry for that next breakfast fix. But as if you guys would head up to Eltham…

The Lane on Urbanspoon

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