Light, bright and airy, Ivy Lane Camberwell is dishing up much-loved brunch plates with a twist – and a few unique offerings of their own creation – along with good coffee and more.
Location: 1420 Toorak Rd, Camberwell, VIC 3124 Ph: (03) 7013 9836
The pocket of businesses towards the Warrigal Road end of Toorak Road in Camberwell has always had its fair share of cafes and dinner spots.
Popular sushi and more joint – Japanese Gourmet Kenji – manages to be busy for both lunch and dinner. Harvest Blend does a brisk breakfast, brunch and lunch trade, whilst Prohibition Food & Wine on the opposite corner is especially buzzy in the evenings. Over the road, Mino Korean Charcoal BBQ draws groups of hungry diners at the weekends. Meanwhile, just down the hill, LiHO Shokudo evokes snug Japanese bars and serves great food along side spritely cocktails.
And then there’s Ivy Lane Camberwell – a sleek, welcoming day time eatery – in what used to be the Zouz Cafe site.
Firstly, Ivy Lane Camberwell is a deceptively large cafe.
As you come in through the front doors, there’s a long serving counter running the length of the lefthand wall. Topped by the ubiquitous coffee machine and book-ended by a display cabinet of pastries and wooden stools for those who want to sit and eat there and then.
Turn right at the top of the room and you find yourself in a large dining area.
It’s a space of golden hued-wooden tables and chairs, punctuated by the occasional dark blue banquette. With a brick feature wall on one side and off-white paintwork elsewhere, the most striking thing is the abundance of natural light. Sunshine spills through a number of rectangular skylights cut into the ceiling, whilst glass sliding doors lead onto a sun-washed outdoor seating section.
This outside space is hugely attractive on a sunny morning. Sitting there under the filtered rays, drinking a coffee and watching the world tootle by on Toorak Road is a great way to start the weekend.
Another bright and sunny brunch option is NAPA Glen Iris, a short drive away.
The menu splits into All Day brunch hits and more lunch-focused dishes from 11.30am. And as is so often the case, as we were eating at 12.30, our party dipped into both sides of the offerings.
The Breakfast Bruschetta ($22.0) plays with both flavours and textures. The Smoked Mozzarella echoes the charred tones of the Baba Ghanoush whilst its creamy consistency contrasts well with the crunchy Polenta Crumbed Egg. It also makes a nice change from the standard vegetarian option of Avo on Toast ($23.0). That said, that’s available too, with Goats Cheese, Fattoush Salad and a rather exciting sounding Bloody Mary Dressing.
Another excellent local cafe is the Old Garage, where plant-based diners and dogs are especially welcome.
I almost go for the Chorizo Benedict ($23.0) – Chorizo, Avo & Coriander Smash, Poached Eggs, Corn Relish & Chipotle Mayo – but in the end, decide on the Thick Cut Bacon ($24.0). I’m mainly swayed by the promise of a Gruyere Cheese Potato Cake. And thankfully, it doesn’t disappoint. Along with a couple of Poached Eggs, Rocket, more of the delicious Chipotle Mayo and a vivid dollop of Beetroot Relish, it’s a great plate of food.
For those with a sweeter tooth, there are some interesting possibilities. Housemade Buttermilk Crumpets ($16.0) get my attention at the best of times. But when they come Carrot Cake-style with Carrot Marmalade, Whipped Cream Cheese & Walnut, I’m genuinely intrigued. They are on my ‘must try’ list for next time.
Similarly, the Fresh Figs on Walnut Toast ($20.0) – with Whipped Ricotta, Prosciutto & Vincotto – is right up my alley.
In the end, the sugar-fiend in our group plumps for the Caramelised French Toast ($22.0). And they are very happy with their choice. It’s a stunning bowl of burnished Brioche with Poached Pear, Cheesecake Cream & Almond Frangipani. 100% yum!
For those who want a more lunchy meal, Ivy Lane Camberwell ditches the sweet and goes full savoury from 11.30am.
The Sushi Bowl ($24.0) is a lovely, healthy option. Packed with Sticky Rice, Avocado, Edamame, Wasabi Mayo, Crispy Nori and more, you can pair it with Cured Salmon, Chicken or Broccolini.
The Chicken Schnitzel Sub ($22.0) smells wonderful when it hits the table. This appealing Chicken sanga includes Fresh Tomato, Spinach, Flor de Latte and a fragrant Basil Mayo.
For the truly hungry, there’s a loaded Wagyu Cheeseburger ($24.0). Slathered in Truffle Mayo, Caramelised Onion, Cos Lettuce, Tomato and Pickles, there’s also a portion of Shoestring Fried on the side. It’s messy to eat – as all good burgers should be – and tastes fab.
The coffee is fresh, heady and supplied by Inglewood Coffee Roasters.
Apart from Juices and Milkshakes, the team also whiz together a couple of full-on Smoothies. The Peanut Butter & Coffee is virtually a meal in a glass and probably ticks off all your calories for the day – but who cares when it tastes this divine?
Ivy Lane Camberwell is a welcome addition to the Toorak Road shopping zone.
The site itself deserves a cafe that does something a little above the ordinary. And pleasingly, Ivy Lane Camberwell gives their customers exactly that.
It’s worth noting that this is a sister venue to the much-loved Miss Frank Cafe a few blocks away and Madison Coffee and Cornerstore in Yarraville, so if you like these establishments, check it out.
Personally, I’m looking forward to heading back and checking out those Carrot Cake Crumpets.