Saturday, August 13, 2011

Eden Espresso, Malvern by Big Fil

Eden Espresso is the sort of place you can be really happy with as your local café. There is very little to find real fault with - the food is good with bread from Noisette and Glicks, staff are friendly, it's an attractive place to sit and the prices are reasonable. It's hard to imagine too many people not liking it and it is certainly popular with the locals, filling up just after 9am on a weekend. On the other hand I wouldn't put it in my upper-echelon of Melbourne cafes, largely because it felt so safe and familiar.

From the outside Eden Espresso looks kind of ordinary, brown wood and large glass windows with a few footpath tables. I must have walked past it a dozen times over the past twelve months before deciding to give it a try.

Inside though is better. There is a choice of four different places to eat, at the tables on the street, a front room table or couch, the small backroom or under the plastic awnings out the back. The pick to me was the small backroom, with its hessian coffee bag and wall poster decorations. Or at least it was the pick until the food and crowd started to arrive. It then became noticeable that the tables are quite small and close together, making it a bit hard to read the paper, a prime consideration to me for a local café.

The space out the back was nice, with muted colours and exposed brickwork. Sitting under all the plastic did feel a little weird though, even assuming it's just a winter thing, to protect everyone from any rain.

First breakfast choice was the Middle Eastern Eggs, two poached eggs in a spiced tomato concasse, with pan-fried haloumi, spring onions and toasted Turkish bread. With a rich tomato sauce, good sized pieces of my favourite squeaky cheese, eggs not over poached and well toasted bread suitable for using as an edible spoon, the only thing which to me was lacking was the use of a well spiced lamb or beef mince to give it some more depth of flavour.

On a sweeter note, the Challah (a Jewish style bread) French toast came topped with vanilla mascarpone, fresh banana and strawberries, maple syrup and cinnamon sugar. My preference is for the maple syrup to be served on the side, so that you can adjust the sweetness and the wetness of the toast to your own liking. However, while the syrup had already been added it was fairly close to how I like it, enough so that you know it's there but not so much that it overpowers everything else and you end up with a limp mess. As with the eggs, a well executed and enjoyable dish but lacking the touches which could have lifted it to a higher level.

Eden Espresso is one of those cafes with lots of good things going for it but nothing outstanding to set it apart from all the others. Service was very friendly but seemed to be stretched a little when full, and the tables were a little small for paper reading. A larger collection of pastries and cakes would also have been good. All up, more a solid B+ than an A level student but most of the time that's more than enough.

Food - 7.5
Service - 7.5
Ambience - 7
Price - 7

121 Glenferrie Road
Malvern VIC
Tel: (03) 9509 9119

Eden Espresso on Urbanspoon

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