A corner store and cafe, Oxford Larder comes from the owners of the not-too-far-away South of Johnston, Stuart McKenzie and Simon Carver. The interior is tight – there are only about 15 seats indoors and 12 outside. We arrive just past 12pm on a Saturday and manage to snag the last of the tiny round tables inside.
The provedore side of things sells kitchen utensils, cookware and other household items, vegetables, bread, pickles and preserves. Coffee is from Market Lane, and in terms of food, the menu from Glenn Bourke and Matthew Palmer has French and Nordic influences. Meals such as pies, curries and salads can be taken away to consume later, and cakes, pastries and buns also feature at the counter for the on-the-go crowd. The kitchen cabinet displays the day’s salads, pies and tarts. Once finished, they may not be restocked, so if you’re keen on having a wider choice, an earlier visit might be a good idea.
The green eggs baked with brown rice, lemon zest and zucchini intrigues, but it’s part of the breakfast menu only, so I settle for the Nordic potato waffles instead. Unlike many cafes these days, the breakfast and lunch menu are largely distinct, changing over at noon. There are a few dishes that cross over both sides, and fortunately the Nordic potato waffle is one of them. The waffles consist mostly of finely julienned potato. Smoked salmon, crushed avocado, and a soft-boiled egg are the main toppings, and the flavours are lifted by the sour cream, and zingy pickled beetroot. Though the potato waffle is a bit dry, it’s a great combination of flavours.
We also order a pie with two salads, choosing (the last) beef cheek and polenta pie, a freekeh, cherry tomato and pumpkin salad, and the cauliflower, kale and black rice salad. This one is more of a pot pie, the tender, pulled beef cheek and diced carrot filling topped with a ‘crust’ of polenta. The salads are nutritious and tasty, and cauliflower salad in particular is delicious.
It may be hard to linger due to its limited seating, but there’s a warm and cosy feel to Oxford Larder that may draw in a regular crowd.
18 Peel St
Collingwood, VIC, 3066
(03) 9417 3675