From the tiniest of kitchens the team at the Golden Child Cafe produce glorious plates of imaginative food, packed with colour and flavour. Thankfully, the coffee is equally good.
Location: 1-3 Bardolph St, Glen Iris, VIC 3146 Ph: (03) 9889 6969
I sometimes feel that we really don’t appreciate the wonders that our city’s cooks and chefs regularly conjure from the tightest of cooking areas.
At the Golden Child Cafe in Glen Iris, the prep and organisational skills of the kitchen crew are in your face the moment you walk through the door. From a narrow galley kitchen to the left, a miraculously broad range of dishes appear on the countertop. All of them a polished visual feast.
Meanwhile, the dining space to the right buzzes with the chat of contented locals. And very contented they should be.
Not so long ago, this suburban pocket of Glen Iris was a caffeine and brunch-free zone. This was surprising as – apart from the residents of the Summer Hill Estate – Burwood Station sits literally across the walking track.
Golden Child Cafe is housed in a perfect corner block location, at the end of a modest row of businesses.
The front of the cafe opens onto Bardolph Street and includes a tables and chairs out on the pavement, protected by an awning. In cooler weather, burners are rolled out and baskets of blankets materialise to keep al fresco diners warm.
To the back of the block there is the weeniest of courtyard gardens and – most importantly – a take-out window. Come past early in the morning and you’ll find the barista doing a swift trade in coffees and more for the commuters heading to the train station. The cafe is also a popular pit stop for exercisers on the Hartwell-bound walking track.
If you head inside, the main dining space is to the right of the narrow kitchen and busy drink creating/serving counter. It’s a pleasant, welcoming room which invites long, relaxed catch-ups with friends at the plain wooden tables. Alternatively, you can perch at the bench-top that runs along the length of the expansive windows and watch the world trot past outside.
If you’re keen for a cocktail or a chilled glass of wine, try Oydis on Ashburton High Street
In an area where brunch is an art form, it’s pleasing that the Golden Child Cafe menu manages to spring a few surprises.
Rather than the usual Eggs Benedict, Golden Child rustles up their fabulous Rosti Benedict. It features a golden wedge of Herb and Onion-flecked Potato Rosti, crowned with an oozing Soft Poached Egg, Snowpea Tendrils and ribbons of crunchy Sweet Potato. This is accompanied by crisp spears of steamed Asparagus and a sunshine swirl of Hollandaise. Whether you pair this glorious combination with Bacon or Smoked Salmon, the choice is yours.
If you’re looking for something lighter, there’s a striking Grilled Halloumi Salad. This sets pan-striped slices of the salty Cheese, against vibrant dressed Leaves and a startling slash of Beetroot Puree. It’s gorgeous to look at and the flavours work in perfect harmony.
Alternatively, there’s a Chicken Salad, high in both protein and texture. Juicy Chicken shares a bowl with Chickpeas, Flaked Almond, Lettuce Leaves, Avocado and Egg, amongst other things.
One of the more unusual dishes is a colourful jumble of shredded, fried Brussel Sprouts, Chorizo and other goodies, served with a Poached Egg on top. It’s a great lunchtime meal and if you love sprouts (an acquired taste, we know!), it’s a winner.
Of course, some of us need a sugar hit in the morning. So if you’ve more of a sweet-tooth, why not try the still-life-in-a-bowl Bircher Muesli? Or maybe the alluringly pretty French Toast? The latter currently comes with Custard, Seasonal Fruits and an extravagance of Persian Fairy Floss. It’s whimsical, very Instagrammable and totally delicious.
If all you want is an honest plate of Scrambled Eggs, Mushrooms and Grilled Tomatoes, never fear. Happily, there’s an entire section of the Golden Child Cafe menu given over to Eggs however you like them and Sides. So feel free to create your own brekkie.
Having said that, the Golden Child version of Chilli Scrambled Eggs is a stunner. A sunshine yellow cloud of soft Eggs and saffron-bright squiggles of a fiery Mayo. A trail of Sesame-heavy Dukkah around the edge adds texture and another level of flavour.
As we’ve already said, this cafe doesn’t just knock out stunning food and then drop the ball when it comes to the coffee.
If you’re in the market for a smooth, rich Latte, this place has you covered. What’s more, they make their teas with leaves, not bags. Whilst I’m not a major tea drinker myself, I know that this always gets a big thumbs up from my friends who are.
For the littlies and young at heart, there are Smoothies and Milkshakes.
Finally, I seem to remember that a while back they made their own Raspberry Lemonade. Or maybe I imagined it? Either way, I didn’t notice it on the Drinks List on my last visit, but maybe I missed it…
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We’ve eaten at the Golden Child Cafe a number of times and the serving staff are all incredibly friendly and helpful.
Always busy, the Golden Child Cafe has everything that you could possibly want in a local cafe.
Light and airy in Summer, cosy in Winter, with delightful staff and an original menu of beautifully prepared food.
Quite how they manage to make such memorable dishes in such a small kitchen is beyond me, but I’m very glad they do!