Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Leroy's Cafe, Newport (by invitation) by Foghorn Leghorn

Running a cafe must be a headache. Some customers like dogs, others don't. Some customers have noisy young children, other customers want peace and quiet. How do you satisfy everyone?

Leroy's Cafe in Newport does a good job of catering to different groups. Indoors has a pleasant buzz and is relatively peaceful. Outdoors (under a roof and securely enclosed) is noisy and child-friendly.

The menu is a similar balancing act to satisfy different customer needs. There are menu items with granola, kale and smashed avocado - if that's your thing. There are also some meaty offerings, which were of much more interest to me and Zed, my lunch companion. We discussed who would have the Weekend Warrior, and who would select the McLeroy Burger.

Leroy's Cafe, Newport, soup
Zed started with a soup of the day - zucchini and blue cheese. Quite good, he said, but I was saving my appetite for the main course.

Leroy's Cafe, Newport, burger
The McLeroy Burger turned out to be a much improved version of a McDonald's burger. It had pickles, mustard, cheese, and some excellent smoky bacon. Because (unlike Maccas) it wasn't sweet, it worked really well. The only drawback was the rustic cut chips. I prefer the crispy thin McDonald's variety. I know you're not meant to say it on a food blog, but I'm out of the closet on this one - I prefer McDonald's chips to other varieties. Ronald McDonald devoted years of research at Hamburger University to create the perfect chip, and I don't see how anyone can improve on it.

Leroy's Cafe, Newport, weekend warrior
The Weekend Warrior was described as "thick cut bacon, braised beef cheek, corn fritter, onion puree, black pudding crumb, roasted field mushroom, 60 degree egg, and sourdough". This ambitious menu item would give us the measure of the kitchen. It didn't disappoint. The bacon really was thick, and it had that smoky taste which distinguishes really good bacon from the other type of bacon. The beef cheek lacked salt, but was otherwise just right. The egg was perfectly done, and the mushrooms were well cooked but still juicy. The only disappointment was the black pudding. It really was as described, a line of crumbs across the plate. We missed the sensuous pleasure of biting into a juicy chunk of black pudding. So overall, on the basis of the Weekend Warrior, I rate the kitchen highly, but could do better. They did many things really well (the bacon in particular was a stand-out), but strayed from the basics with the black pudding. Meat lovers don't like their meat disguised as something else - they want it to look and taste like meat.

Zed also had a latte. Zed is very fussy about coffee, so he didn't rate it highly. He conceded that it was as good as most Melbourne coffee, which most people would take as praise.

Leroy's Cafe, Newport
You will notice that I haven't mentioned the service. That's because it was just right. Pleasant, responsive, but not intrusive. Because it works so well, you don't even notice that someone is doing something, you think that everything is just working of its own accord. In fact, nothing works of its own accord - only a good crew can make everything seem so effortless.

Leroy's Cafe, Newport
Before and after the meal, I went for a stroll around downtown Newport. It's on the road to gentrification, but it's not Yarraville. As in Sunshine, the urban planners of the 1960s did some serious damage in Newport. There are ugly concrete flyovers, and a dingy pedestrian subway under the train line. This divides the shopping precinct into two distant parts, and it really kills the atmosphere. I was more than a bit surprised to see that someone has recently applied to demolish the Masonic temple, which looks from the outside like a magnificent old building. Research tells me that it was designed by Joseph Plottel, an early 20th century architect who also designed Footscray Town Hall, the St Kilda Synagogue, and much else besides.

Leroy's Cafe, Newport
Still, Newport is only 20 minutes from Flinders St, with trains running every 10 minutes. Leroy's Cafe is right next to the station, on the western side next to a park. It did a roaring trade in the two hours we were there, so evidently it's one of the more welcoming places in the suburb.


We really liked it
We really liked it.


We liked it a lot, and we would definitely come back if we're in the neighbourhood. Leroy's has a pleasant feel, and the menu offers something for everyone.

Also have a gander at Bureaucrat's review back in 2012.

Find it at

Leroy's Cafe
5 Mason Street
Newport Vic 3015
Telephone: (03) 9391 9009

Leroys Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

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