This tucked-away Camberwell favourite has not only survived lockdown restrictions, but is looking to expand. And so it should, Dish & Spoon Cafe does fabulous food and great drinks in a cosseting, friendly space.
Location: 122 Highfield Rd, Camberwell, VIC 3142 Ph: (03) 9836 6985
It had been a while since Eatability had last eaten at the Dish & Spoon Cafe in Camberwell. But as soon as we walked through the door, we kicked ourselves for not returning sooner.
Despite it being a chilly Melbourne lunchtime, and the cafe being tucked away in a small suburban row of businesses, it was packed with happily chattering diners. And why not? The staff meet you with genuine smiles as soon as you walk through the door and the food – and coffee – is great.
There’s a real rustic charm to the Dish & Spoon Cafe. The fascade has the original emerald green tiles and tarnished pressed metal awning. Black sun umbrellas shade basic metal chairs and scrubbed wood-topped tables. Happily, there are also gas burners for those bold enough to brave the Melbourne winter by eating outside.
Not us – on this occasion. The cosy scene that we spy through the windows is far too enticing.
A bench-top runs along the window for those who wish to grab a spot whilst waiting for a coffee. Further inside, the left of the room is given over to a till and long, white-tiled and logo’d counter where barristers manhandle a large coffee machine and blend up Smoothies and Milkshakes.
There’s a plenty of exposed brick and a rough wooden floor to add to the shabby chic vibe. The main room is packed with happy customers, as is the additional dining space out the back. I don’t check, but doubt if the attractive courtyard behind the cafe is too busy on a day when the mercury is barely nudging 11. However, I know from experience that it’s a lovely spot to sit with a Toasted Ham & Swiss Cheese Croissant ($9.5) on a sunny morning.
Interestingly, there’s currently chipboard up behind the service counter. Apparently, the business is expanding into the corner shop next door. Great news! Hopefully, Elli & Frank – the dynamos behind the cafe – will be ready to reveal what the enlarged space means for the Dish & Spoon Cafe in July 2023.
The renos are now complete and wow! What a difference.
There is a beautiful flow of light and space into the bright, white and airy room around the other side of the serving area. Pleasingly, the crew are so sensitive to their customers needs that they’v even popped funky rubber echo-deadening strips to the underside of the tables. Seriously, what more could you ask for?
Whilst the basic menu is big by most cafes standards, the choice becomes huge when you factor in all the options on the Build Your Own Breakfast list and the items you can Add On to your Burger. Plus there are Specials as well.
Incidentally, at present, the kitchen are running themed Specials. When we visit, there are 3 Mexican inspired plates on offer. Although we don’t choose any of them, they must be popular as one of them as already sold out.
So what do we go for? I know what I want as soon as I see the Lobster Roll ($24).
Supernormal arguably launched the Lobster Roll craze. For info on this and more, see our piece on the Best Asian Fusion Restaurants in Melbourne.
It’s an interesting spin on a dish that has been synonymous with fashionable Melbourne venues for a few years now. The Dish & Spoon Cafe version contains a mix of Crayfish Tail, Local Bug Meat & Prawn with a Lobster-Infused Cocktail Sauce, all served in a Brioche finger roll. So far, so good. From there, the team free-style with Cheese, Potato and Green Oak Lettuce. It works. And with a side of well-seasoned crunchy Chips, it’s a success.
My companion has a soft-spot for a Soup when the temperature drops. The Soup of the Day is a Creamy Chicken and Vegetable. Whilst it’s not a big bowl of food, it’s very rich – almost a cheesy bechamel. My friend finds it a bit cloying and would prefer it a little looser – perhaps a tad more milk? However, the last of my Chips go to a whole different level when dipped in it!
As you can probably guess, we hit Dish & Spoon Cafe at lunchtime and weren’t feeling like Breakfast. That said, I’ve enjoyed an earlier visit in the past and can confirm that their Brunch game is strong.
The Middle Eastern Scramble ($24) is a blinder. A melodious cacophony of Marinated Feta & Chilli Scrambled Eggs, Crispy Fingerling Potatoes, Preserved Lemon & Dill Yoghurt, Golden Paprika Oil & Hazelnut Dukkah. On Turkish Bread. With Homemade Walnut Butter. And there’s Bacon or Mushrooms if that’s not sufficient. Honestly. If that does scream Serious Foodie Brekkie at you, I don’t know what does.
All that aside, my go-to mid-morning feed at Dish & Spoon Cafe is their Breakfast Mezze ($24). This veggie feast features Turkish Delight Infused Strawberries – and just gets better from thereon in. There’s Blackcurrant Poached Pear and Orange Braised Rhubarb on Cereal Infused Custard. Then there’s Homemade Raspberry Yoghurt & LSA Sourdough Bruschetta, Avo Smash & Poached Egg. If all of that doesn’t do it for you, you can supplement with either Bacon or Tofu.
If you love your Coffee, you’ll love this place.
Dish & Spoon Cafe have their own blend and a Dark Roast. Then things get serious is an array of V60 Pour Over Reserve Coffee. With Tasting Notes, details on the Grower and more.
Me? I had a Magic (Yep, I’m soooo Melbourne – and it was great. Smooth, full-flavoured and with a great mouth-feel).
At some point, I’m going to leave my car behind and try one of the Cocktails. Dish & Spoon Cafe has a small range, but the Coffee Negroni ($16) – Gin, Campari, Mr Black Coffee Liqueur, Sweet Vermouth – sounds like something I could get into.
As you might expect, there are a handful of yummy Milkshakes and Smoothies. The Honey Trap ($10) – Banana, Almond Milk, Turmeric & Honey is especially good.
Dish & Spoon Cafe might be away from the glamour of Camberwell’s main shopping strip and the swank of Armadale with its Yummy Mummies, but it’s a shining star in the Melbourne cafe scene.
Whether you’re looking for an interesting, but hearty breakfast, a great brunch date with an old friend or an innovative menu for a business lunch, give a try.
And we certainly won’t make the mistake of waiting too long before we book in again.