15 Ormond Rd,
Elwood VIC 3184
Tues – Sun: 6am – 4pm
“Nigella Lawson has recently come out swinging on the subject of clean eating. The theme resonates in her new book – Simply Nigella – which offers her loyal readers a range of lighter recipes with few sugary rich pleasures found within the pages. But it’s the introductory note that explores her dislike for ‘clean eating’ – calling it a fad and that its followers shouldn’t be smug about it.
Melbourne, too, has taken clean eating on board and this is most prevalent in the brunch space. It was only not long ago that finding dishes truly gluten free was a serious struggle; fast forward to today, a café not offering a GF option is the minority. The wave of health focussed cafes isn’t a problem in my eyes. In fact, I’m fairly indifferent about them. What I dislike is when an operator takes themselves too seriously; starting to ram preachy ‘clean eating’ and general ‘wellness tips’ down my throat and on multiple social media platforms. This isn’t the case with the latest café to open its doors in Elwood – Little Sunflower.
The driving force behind Little Sunflower is owners Grant Waters and Angie Robertson, who individually have ten years’ experience in the hospitality industry. The philosophy of their menu is to provide whole food dishes, naturally. The modern, yet small space, is well designed and incorporates a sunny décor with its use of bright yellows and a vertical indoor garden.
Coffee poured here uses AllPress beans and my Long Black [$3.50] was rich and highly caffeinated for a first morning coffee. Certainly one of the better coffees I have had in Elwood, it was served at the right temperature and portion – with soft tones of chocolate on the back of my palate.
The all-day breakfast is limited in the way of choice, but what’s on offer aims to impress the healthy taste buds. An appealing factor of the Little Sunflower menu is its ability to offer a healthy alternative to breakfast or lunch, that is also enjoyable to eat. Who doesn’t like bacon on a salad!
Salad for breakfast isn’t usually a dish I prescribed myself to break my overnight fasting, however, I was intrigued with the Freekeh, avocado, watercress, spinach salad, rye croutons, puffed amaranth, bacon pieces, poached egg, chia & hazelnut dekkah [$16.50].
What I really loved about this dish was the freshness and depth of flavour. The combination of the rye bread and freekeh grain with the leaf salad makes for the ideal hearty salad. Mixed with bacon and avocado – a fantastic blend – has all the hallmarks of a proper Melbourne brunch that was enjoyable. Whilst the poached egg was cooked to perfection, I felt that it didn’t really have a place with the dish. Overall, I really enjoyed my meal though. It was very filling, with plenty of flavour and requires an appetite.
Little Sunflower is a café in Elwood that gently encourages brunchgoers to have a healthy start to the day without openly telling them they should. Ideal for groups of two or four, the café has cultivated the ‘Elwood intimacy’ that locals so often get – yet provides a warm welcome to newcomers. It’s a café that you may not attend every second weekend, but if you want a healthy brunch – perhaps after feeling guilty from a freakshake – than Little Sunflower should be on the top of your list.”
“Summer is here! Rejoice! Or… Not? It was a wet yet muggy morning on the weekday that Mr LB and I chose to check out a gorgeous little cafe in Elwood called Little Sunflower. On the further reaches of Ormond road, away from all the other main shops, this cheerful little cafe has a playful yet comfortable atmosphere and interior design. There were three street side tables that were half covered in water from rain on the day we arrived, and the manager on duty (potentially the owner) offered us a seat out the back in their cosy, covered courtyard.
Cookie, my fluffy mini poodle, can be hassle to bring on wet days but this was absolutely not a problem at Little Sunflower. The courtyard in the back has only two tables, but there is a little gate that meant Cookie could scamp around freely without her lead.
The environment here on the weekday is peaceful and private and the service from the gent on duty was excellent. He checked in on us with the right frequency and was as attentive to Cookie as he was to us, asking if she’s like a bowl of water and even giving her a little dog treat upon taking a seat.
The coffee here is by Allpress and my double espresso had a bitter head, which suggests it was perhaps a little over pulled. The rest of the drink was rich but not overly intense like Axil blends can sometimes be.
The menu here was interesting and focused on using artisan products that are organic and seasonal. Options like Warm black rice pudding with coconut milk, strawberries, banana, bee pollen (!) and buckiness [$14.50] and Pumpkin, walnut and cinnamon bread toasted with Pepe Saya butter [$7.50] made my stomach growl.
My choice for the day was the Sweet potato roesti, poached eggs, kale, mushrooms, kasoundi [$16.50]. The kitchen service here was relatively quick, although the cafe overall was quite. My dish was served within 20 minutes. The highlight for me was the sweet potato roesti, which burst with flavour and had a hint of some additional herbs. The eggs were perfectly poached and gooey, adding to the sweetness of the roesti, which was served piping hot. The mushrooms were full of juice and bursting with flavour. Adding a very different flavour to the dish was the kasoundi, which was spicy – not “hot” spicy – just full of spices. This dish was very, very filling and retrospectively I realised I over ate.
Overall I thought Little Sunflower was a gorgeous, no-fuss cafe. The atmosphere was very welcoming and I simply love the addition of the back gate to the courtyard. The service was excellent and the staff genuinely wanted to be there. I have already been back to visit, and I look forward to many the more to come.”
Final thought: “Healthy food for intimate catch ups”