Address
143 Whitehorse Road
Balwyn

Opening hours:
Mon – Fri: 7 am – 4:30 pm
Sat: 8 am – 4:30 pm
Sun: 8 am – 3:30 pm

Coffee: Industry Beans

Mr LB:
“Why fight for dominance in the inner suburbs when no one cares about the rest [anonymous]

Large cities either build high or spread wide. Of course, it’s not as simple as choosing between a latte and a long black – and obviously there is considerable weight on processes and analysis. But by and large, each major city confronts this juncture and often it comes down to land availability. Victoria is fortunate to have plenty of land to allow suburbs to establish their own identity and community as opposed to building large apartment blocks – most iconic in cities like New York and Hong Kong.

As Melbourne sprawls out, once city villages are now well within the city boundary. The demand for better living and access to good food, drinks and culture has never been higher. With the emergence of a better cafe culture and the increased attractiveness of eating out there is no reason why the inner ‘trendy’ suburbs should be the go-to location. Scarvelli Cafe in Balwyn is one such example.

Scarvelli Cafe has been in operation since 2012 when it took over a hairdresser salon. The corner shop location lends itself to plenty of opportunity with large spaces both inside and out. Entering from the shop front opens to a modern decor of white and grey features that’s mixed with a hint of industrialism. Exposed pipes hang from the ceiling and are accentuated with a touches of vintage – think hanging glassware, vintage lighting fixtures and old light caps decorated discretely. The back of the property offers a soothing atmosphere as the spacious patio attracts the afternoon sun with a pleasant country feel; rustic wooden panels and grown vegetables surround the dining area.

The coffee here is sourced from Industry Beans, with my long black [$3.50] having a strong stone fruit flavour. Pouring from the classic La Marzocco – FB 80, the temperature and taste profile was of a high standard and presented in the ideal 8oz quantity.

In the restaurant game, ‘paddock to plate’ is the latest buzz word that’s too easy to say and shows empathy towards sustainable living. The thing is, most restaurants will usually call up a person and provide a list of ingredients … freshly sourced from a farmer. The owners of Scarvelli Cafe have taken it a step further by growing most of their veggies and meats on a 12 acre farm in Swan Bay. Bloody impressive considering the husband and wife team also run their own businesses and raise three boys under the age of 15!

Braised Swan Bay Lamb & Tomato ragu with potato & goat cheese mash, sauteed green & bean

My brunch special Braised Swan Bay Lamb & Tomato ragu with potato & goat cheese mash, sauteed green & bean [$19] was said to be all sourced from the farm – and it was a fantastic winter lunch. The stringy lamb was succulent and soft, matching perfectly with the tomato ragu sauce. The bed of potato and goat cheese was exceptionally tasty, adding a creamy texture that complemented well with the fresh green & bean. The final touches of dehydrated kale chips made for an impressive locally sourced dish.

I finished with a Lemon Tart [~$5] that was served with a lovely dob of soft marshmallow for brunch dessert (all desserts are made in-house), which was light enough to be the ideal palate cleanser. The crisp citrus lemon flavours reminded me of home-made lemon curd and the shortcrust base was light and delectable.

Lemon tart

A lot of hard work has gone into building this cafe and the rewards are already visible. Balwyn is just a short drive from Richmond and yet Scarvelli Cafe is equally, or even beats some of its inner city competitors. Offering exceptional quality in food that is served straight from the farm will always prove to be a fantastic brunching spot. Don’t just added to the list – go!”

Miss SL:
“I’m going to give it to you straight – Scarvelli Cafe is the most surprising and impressive cafe I have been to in a long time. We were invited here by the cafes marketing manager, Carlos, and boy did it surprise and delight.

Claire Voitin owns the best thing that has ever come to Balwyn and this is her first venture into the food scene. She and her husband live up the road and Claire also owns a jewellery store in the district. So how did this entrepreneurial woman go from jewellery to food, you ask? The missing link is her lawyer husband who grew up on a farm. Thanks to his passion for the country, the two now own a farm where all the meat and a good majority of the vegetables are sourced from for the cafe. Talk about from paddock to plate!

Running for few years now, the service is smooth and Voitin is pursuing a liquor license to expand into an evening service.

My Industry Beans coffee was the Mwasa Rwanda, touting flavours of caramel, grapefruit and cranberry. I could only taste the caramel within its bold, bright citrus flavours, which I could only assume was driven by the grapefruit. According to the notes, the beans are de-pulped and then fermented for 18-24 hours. It was a real novelty to experience Industry Beans coffee at a cafe other than their own.

For mains, I had the Wood Fired Salmon – torn wood fired smoked salmon with poached egg, salad of crisp polenta gems, avocado, quinoa & leaves, charred corn & seeded mustard salsa [$17] [GF]. What came out blew my mind! My smoked wood house salmon immediately exceeded my expectations; it had such beautiful, artistic plating with generous pieces of salmon.

Wood Fired Salmon – torn wood fired smoked salmon with poached egg, salad of crisp polenta gems, avocado, quinoa & leaves, charred corn & seeded mustard salsa

The salmon was lightly smoked and good for those who dislike deep smokey flavours typically associated with that style of cooking. The polenta was perfectly cooked – golden on the outside, crispy and perfectly salted. What I really liked was how the fresh avocado acted almost like a creamy sauce – tying together the rocket, quinoa and corn. It was beautiful!

I thought Scarvelli Cafe was an amazing find of a cafe and I’m already planning my next trip back there. I love how they are so sustainable in their produce and how they have little additional items for sale, like salted caramel or grow-your-own parsley out of a bag (so cute!). Definitely an must try.”

Final thought: “Must try the smoked salmon”

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