Eira Café and Lounge Bar
1 Pryor Street Eltham
(Visited August ’16)
It is not good when best mates get together
It is good when best mates get together.
When men get together, shit happens
When men get together, the best stuff happens.
When best mates hatch a plan, watch out…
When best mates hatch a plan… watch out…
And so it is when Hubbie and his best mate are together. It’s a manly match made in heaven: they were each other’s best men at their respective weddings; they are both so fond of their hair and appearance; and they love beer, and alcohol, and COFFEE, oh, so, much.
Oh, and they don’t mind us wives either.
But really, truly. We get along smashingly.
So on a Saturday night at a birthday party, when within 5 minutes of being in the same room as each other, they came looking for me and Best Man’s wife, exclaiming “here they are!” as they walked into the room, you just knew, something was up.
Not up in the way it was many, many, many moons ago when they decided to trespass on the grounds of a piece of Melbourne criminal history and nearly got eaten by Rottweilers. Not that kind of ‘up.’
They’re Dads now. We would actually kill them if they decided to pull shit like that again.
So, this was a more ‘let’s go out, let’s get hammered’ type of hatch plan.
“We’re going out to brekkie tomorrow!” is what they told us.
Like I said, they’re Dads… they’ve mellowed out.
I personally had not been out to brekkie with baby girl in yonks. Other than the times we’ve been on a weekend away and a café has literally been a 5 minute drive so that her morning hunger nerves aren’t extended any more than they have to be, I gave up the thought of breakfasts out a while back, only because I don’t want to torture her, just because I need to be a Melbourne hipster eating my Avocado smash with gluten free mocha/Frappuccino/Matcha blend with raw sugar from the Jungles of the Amazon. Nah. I’ll wait for her to be a little older.
However, as it is when you’re in a group of over-excited-testosterone-planning-the-beer-they’ll-drink-before-breakfast neanderthals, I thought ‘what the hell.’
It was very different the following morning as we, and they, woke up in our separate houses feeling groggy and sleep-deprived from a late night and early morning. We had to beat ourselves out of bed, and after much to-ing and fro-ing, and ringing around, decided on a place not too far from either of us, Eira Cafe and Lounge Bar in Eltham.
It is a café situated on a corner not far from the Main Street, opposite Common Place where we had previously frequented, and near a public car park, with many shops, cafes and supermarkets all around. It was a stunning Sunday for Winter, and we arrived first, sitting at our Reserved table nearby the fireplace.
It isn’t a huge café, and most tables were taken. There was a lot of wood about, and even the long table we were on had long stools for sitting rather than individual seats, adding to the earthy aspect. As is the norm nowadays, suspended lightbulbs hung down low from the ceiling, which I love to see no matter how many Cafes showcase this trend. And the floor length windows allowed you to get a good look at the passers-by and goings on in the street outside, from wherever you were sitting.
I FORTUNATELY ordered baby girl’s meal before our friends came. I am so grateful I did that.
We got for her the Pikelets with maple syrup and ice cream, and though she was rapt with the cold stuff, I think the maple syrup was just not to her taste.
I forgot to take a photo because I was so concerned about baby girl getting some food into her. Here is her 2 and a half pikelets (originally 3), a decent serve for a child I think, albeit a toddler like her. However I hadn’t needed to use the standby piece of bread I had ready and waiting in my bag in case she couldn’t take the hunger no longer. She was occupied with our friends’ kids across from her and their gadgets. She ate a decent portion and seemed happy, and the presentation was nice.
We had all ordered at the same time once our friends were here – our adult meals plus their kids’ meals. Everyone watched baby girl’s pikelet plate as we waited. And waited. And waited. Not even the kids meals were coming out! Our kids plus now a content baby girl walked around, jumped over the nearby couches on the stage area, which was a step up from where we were seated. Some areas of the café appeared zoned, such as this step up area which we assumed might be for a band on a music night; and then there was another couch in front of the fireplace. It was homely and comforting, sure, and it all looked good… we just wanted our food!
The boys were drinking pre-brekkie beer as discussed, but getting hungry. Us girls were getting hungry. The poor kids were getting hungry. It was obvious it wasn’t only limited to us, as around me I could see plenty of empty tables with people looking around with curious eyes, and yet no staff came over to say anything. We withheld comment for over an hour… and then as expected, as soon as baby girl needed a nappy change, our food came out.
However, it was great, since a waitress informed me they did have a change table in the disabled toilets (take that Lygon street!) I sacrificed my warm, arrived brekkie, and went into the loo with her, only to first hear from the waitress delivering our food that a chef had gone home sick, which is why a huge backlog of dishes had occurred and been delayed.
Well, that made sense. Now we would stuff ourselves.
By the time I came back with baby girl, I pretty much passed all responsibility of keeping baby girl out of trouble (like running behind the counter and making a coffee for herself) over to Hubbie, as I proceeded to eat very quickly.
I mean, it was almost 12. It was now practically lunchtime.
I had ordered some kind of Vegetarian breakfast: mushrooms, eggplant and zucchini atop sourdough bread, cherry tomatoes on the side and 2 poached eggs, with a balsamic glaze.
Not their fault, but because I had tended to baby girl, my meal was lukewarm. I ate it quickly, and even the sourdough had gotten a bit tougher in that time. I still enjoyed it, as a person stranded in the desert enjoys water, but I still felt I could have had more, and I don’t know if that’s because it took so long to arrive, or because the meal could have been larger.
Having waited so long for the food, I still needed something else to satisfy my Sunday morning craving…. Caffeine. We all got coffees, and both Hubbie and I enjoyed ours, though I forgot to photograph them… again, hunger and thirst pains. But they were good, strong, smooth. Ahh. When I go “ahhh” all is good.
I didn’t however, forget to photograph the best looking one:
Baby girl’s babycino.
Kudos for creativity, bravo. And baby girl LOVES marshmallows. I found it very clever indeed 🙂
After our marathon wait and then elevator ride finish, it was now lunchtime… and time to go home and eat and catch up on some sleep.
Food: 7/10. I’m not deducting points just because someone was sick in the kitchen – shit happens. The rest of the menu looked really good, with their variety of lunch meals, tapas, main meals, and all kinds of other bits and pieces like desserts and kids meals.
Coffee: 8/10. It touched my soul on that Sunday morning. Strong and smooth.
Ambience: Comfy, with a touch of Eltham class. The wood panelling gives it that homely feel, and I really like the various areas of seating creating little zones within the small café.
People: Family types out for brekkie. Younger families, older families, Dads with kids, Mums with kids, and large groups.
Staff: They were busy. Nice, but shit was happening in the kitchen you see. They did their best and they were good with our requests.
Price: I have no clue on the final countdown because our friends shouted us on this occasion, but the prices on the menu show the $15-$19 mark on all the various ‘adult’ breakfasts, which I feel is on the money… However where my meal felt not so large, baby girl’s was generous.
Advice: Book ahead, and maybe try and go on a night where they have their live music playing… it would be a treat to experience in that homely environment.
In a nutshell: I would go back, and have no reservations despite their unfortunate bad luck that day. Perhaps they could have informed the customers of what was proceeding so that the people in the café weren’t looking around for an hour scratching their heads… but oh well.
Still a nice place to Lounge away on a Sunday. With the big kids, AND the little kids – the little kids being our Hubbies, of course.
Of course 😉