Clean flavours, smooth coffee and attractive plating make Thymes Five Cafe another eatery to visit on thriving High Street, Ashburton. And with an evening menu as well, it’s not just a great spot for brunch.
Location: Shop 4/305 High St, Ashburton, VIC 3147 Ph: (03) 8840 9680
The local shopping strip on High Street Ashburton has always been a cut above the milk bar and newsagents combo of many of its neighbouring suburbs. With an award winning butchers’, a beautiful fruit and veg shop, bakeries, a well-stocked IGA grocers and a number of busy cafes doing a brisk breakfast and lunch trade.
Then the generations-old ‘dry zone’ was revoked and Two Doors Brewing and the Oydis Bar opened for business.
All of this has brought more shoppers and diners to the area. And the cafe scene has continued to thrive.
One place that lies on the quieter end of High Street which deserves a look is the Thymes Five Cafe. Previously the Oak Room – an early hospitality venture for what is now the Workshop Brothers – Thymes Five Cafe is the latest eatery from another experienced team. The Mannings (Jenny, Brent & Luke) have a string of successful cafes and bars on their resume, including Bensons Mount Waverley and Bensons Belgrave.
The Ashburton incarnation, Thymes Five Cafe, is a modern, light and airy cafe – much like it’s sister establishments. Apart from serving an All Day Menu that slides easily between breakfast, brunch and lunch favourites, it offers catering. In addition, since March 2023 the kitchen also runs Thymes Five Italian on Friday and Saturday evenings, giving locals another spot to dine over the weekend.
Thymes Five Cafe is pristine, without looking clinical.
Clean, light and uncluttered, tables run along the left of the long, rectangular room. Seating is a mix of low-backed banquettes and dark wood chairs. There’s a serving counter and display cabinet of tempting goodies to the front right and a glimpse of the kitchen through an open doorway.
The colour palette is black and white, softened by organic wood tones.
If the weather is agreeable, there are also a few tables and chairs out on the street, complete with shade-giving umbrellas.
For another great place to grab brunch, see our review of Linger Cafe
As I said earlier, the cafes of Ashburton High Street do a roaring breakfast and lunch trade. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that the menu at Thymes Five Cafe offers more than a bog-standard scrambled eggs on toast. Although you can have that too, if you wish. Or alternatively, how about the Chilli Scrambled Eggs ($23) with Mixed Mushrooms, Peperonata, Cheddar & Goats Cheeses, Chilli & Fried Shallots?
For brunch, I’m a fan of a savoury/sweet mix. So the Chicken Waffles ($24) – Belgium Waffle, Southern Fried Chicken, Seasonal Fruits, Bacon & Chilli Maple Syrup – had my name all over it. And no. It didn’t disappoint.
However, if a hunk of protein with your waffles and fruit is a turn off, Thymes Five Cafe does a lovely Coconut & Pear Bircher Muesli ($19.95). This comes with Coconut Yoghurt, fragrant Saffron Infused Poached Pear, Seeds, Nuts, Granola & more Fresh Fruit.
Another sweet option is the hotcakes. We’ve seen these move through a couple of versions – both delicious and very pretty. Currently, there’s Buttermilk Blueberry & Ricotta Hotcakes ($21) with Seasonal Fruits, Coconut & Almond Flakes, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, Coulis & Maple Syrup. They are sure to satisfy even the sweetest tooth.
As it’s an All Day Menu, there’s a good selection of more lunch-leaning dishes.
Lemon Pepper Calamari ($23) has the Lemon Pepper doused seafood flash fried and paired with Mixed Leaves, Pear & Parmesan Salad, Lemon Mayo and Crispy Italian Potatoes.
For the burger fiends there’s a Crispy Southern Fried Chicken Burger ($23) with Apple Slaw or an Angus Beef Burger ($24) with Double Smoked Bacon (and more). Both arrive with American cheese, condiments and a decent basket of proper Chips.
Finally, for the more health-conscious, even the salads show a bit of thought.
The Warm Chicken & Quinoa Salad ($25) includes Seasonal Roast Vegetables, Goats Cheese and a Nut Crumble. Meanwhile, the Asian Crispy Chicken Salad ($24) hits the table in a crunchy Wonton cup.
Excitingly, the team have started keeping the kitchen open on Friday and Saturday evenings and are serving homely Italian dishes.
We gave it a go a couple of weeks back and were pleased to see a good number of locals turning up to order Chicken Parmagiana ($28), oven-baked Barramundi ($29) with seasonal veg and a tight range of Pastas and Risottos.
Eatability gave the Penne Alfredo ($24) a whirl and it was tasty, not too heavy and the pasta was suitably al dente. Given that you can pay $35 in the city for a very average version of this dish, it was a genuine result.
Ashburton, Glen Iris, Hawthorn and Camberwell all have great cafes. For our recommendations on the Best Cafes in Camberwell (and nearby), see here.
Thymes Five Cafe gets its Coffee from Cortado and its Teas from Tealeaves of Sassafras. I can vouch for the excellence of their strong latte and am reliably informed that their tea is also good.
On the chilled side of things there are Smoothies and Milkshakes as well as Soft Drinks. The kitchen also do Blended Fresh Juices, our go-to being the 3 Son’s Booster. This is a lively concoction of Apple, Carrot, Orange, Celery & Ginger.
Given the cafe’s proximity to not one, but two, local Primary Schools, it’s no surprise that there are a couple of Speciality Drinks ($9.9) too. And the Iced Cookies & Cream with its Chocolate & Caramel Sauces, Oreos, Ice Cream and more sounds about as special as you can get.
For great Japanese food and delicious cocktails, see our piece on LiHO Shokudo
Thymes Five Cafe might not be amongst the bustle of central High Street Ashburton, but it should still be on your must-try list.
The relaxed ambience and friendly service are matched with a thoughtful menu of tasty dishes. Nothing is too out-there, but most plates have a flash of originality about them that adds interest.
The extensive drinks list also makes it a great spot for a post-school-pick-up treat with the kids.