At Joe Frank, the coffee window is perpetually busy, but that isn’t all that this great local cafe provides. Grab a seat in the chilled rear courtyard and enjoy charming service and one of the best Chilli Scrambles around.
Location: 246 High St, Ashburton, VIC, 3147 Ph: (03) 9193 0169
It’s an obvious spot for a cafe, really.
Just before the railway bridge on High Street Ashburton, at the head of the ever busy Gardiners Creek Trail and close to the train station, it’s a building that screams coffee, pastries and eggs.
So it’s no surprise that Joe Frank sits in the corner block that has already seen a few eateries come and go. The most recent being the resident.
But the resident (with its intriguing lack of capitals) has long gone and instead the latte-lovers and avid brunchers of ‘Ashy’ have the smiling faces of the Joe Frank team to greet them in the mornings. And very happy they are with the current occupants, I can tell you.
Set in the last building before the railway track on the south side of High Street Ashburton, Joe Frank has a distinctive black and grey hexagonal pattern painted on its side wall.
And that side wall is home to one of the busiest coffee windows around. From the moment the cafe opens until the shutters come down, a steady line of commuters cyclists and walkers stop by for Coffee, Tea, Milkshakes and the odd sneaky Muffin.
There are a couple of tables set out the front on the pavement, but most customers head in to eat. The L-shaped dining room is light and sunny with wooden tables and chairs grouped before a service counter and along a passageway next to the kitchen pass.
However, the big attraction of meeting friends for lunch at Joe Franks is the spacious covered courtyard out the back. Wander through the cafe, exit the rear door and you’ll find yourself in a sunny (if the weather allows) oasis buzzing with activity. Wooden benches line the walls and there’s a communal table set with plants in the middle.
It’s a glorious spot for a coffee and a catch up after some soul-cleansing morning exercise.
Looking for more dining spots around the area? See our piece on the Best Cafes in Camberwell (and nearby).
The All Day Menu isn’t the most extensive in the neighbourhood, but it is definitely polished.
I mentioned the Chilli Scramble ($20) before. Always a winner, at Joe Frank the fluffy Eggs come with Meredith Goats Cheese, a lush Almond Cashew Pesto, Fresh Chilli and Fried Shallots on Sourdough Toast. And be warned – those Chillies have a genuine spiky heat.
As you can see from the photo, there’s also range of Sides for those who wish to add to the basics. And we’re suckers for the Bacon ($5) with our ‘Scramble.
If savoury doesn’t do it for you first thing, the Joe Frank Granola ($18) might be more to your taste. Featuring crunchy House Made Granola, Coconut, Sultanas, Pear, Apple & Rhubarb Compote, Lime Coyo & Passionfruit Curd, it’s extremely pretty. Luckily, it also ticks all the flavour boxes too.
Another frequently ordered item is the Corn Fritters ($21). These share the plate with an Avocado Mousse & Beetroot Mustard, as well as Meredith’s Goats Cheese, Dukkah w/ Sugar Loaf Cabbage & Coriander Salad. It’s a fresh, clean-tasting dish which also happens to be gluten-free.
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Lastly, I have to mention the Sriracha Maple Glazed Bacon ($20), or my life won’t be worth living.
The spicy slices of cured pig arrive on a delicious bed of Smashed Avo & Coriander, all atop Sourdough Bread. It’s a regular go-to for one of Eatability’s fellow diners who rates it as their top breakfast in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne.
Although there are no time specifics on when to eat what at Joe Frank, there is a section of the menu that leans more naturally towards lunch.
The JF Burger ($22) is an appetising stack of Beef Patty, Cos Lettuce, Pickles, Relish, Caramelised Onion, Tomato, & Aioli on a Milk Bun. Plus Fries.
For the more health-conscious, The Salad ($19) is a good plant-based option. It’s a substantial bowl of Roasted Cauliflower & Pumpkin w/ Kale, Black Rice, Quinoa, Goji, Cashews, Pickled Carrot, Sunflower Seeds & a Lemon & Tahini Dressing.
Personally, we find it hard to ignore the pull of a good Toastie around 1pm. Our sandwich of choice at Joe Franks is their Reuben ($17) – Slow Cooked Pulled Beef, Sauerkraut, Swiss Cheese, Dill Pickle & JF Special Sauce.
Do you have a passion for Vietnamese rolls? Take a look at our post on the Best Banh Mi in Melbourne.
The barristas at Joe Frank have their own blend of Coffee ($5) and do Tea by Larsen & Thompson ($5).
For those who like their hot beverages with less caffeine and tannins, there’s Mork 70% Dark Hot Choc ($7) and Matcha Latte by Konomi ($5). A special shout also goes out to the Golden Latte ($5). Aromatic with Turmeric, Cardamon, Cinnamon, Ginger, Native Pepper & Honey, it’s addictive.
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Of course, those looking for cold drinks are also spoilt for choice. There are Juices ($6), a vast list of Shakes ($6 or $8 for Thick), Soft Drinks and a brilliant Watermelon Slushie ($10). The ‘Slushie is a fabulously hydrating blend of Watermelon, Strawberries, Raspberries, Lemon, Mint & Apple. Perfect for a hot day.
If you head down the ‘Peninsula for a break, read our guide to the Best Restaurants in Mornington.
Whether you simply want a take away Cappuccino for you stroll to the train, or feel like settling in for a proper brekkie, Joe Frank has you covered.
The staff are delightful. Always friendly and happy to bring you whatever you fancy.
The cafe itself is warm and welcoming, with the added bonus of that attractive rear courtyard.
And the food is fresh and clearly made with care.
Honestly, what more could you ask for from a local cafe?