01 Dec Junkyard, St Kilda
Much of the spotlight in St Kilda recently seems to be centred on the beach side, whilst those further inland are little neglected with the new openings. Enter Junkyard, the newest cafe from the owner of Hawthorn darling Sardi. Located opposite Newmarket Hotel, its entrance is set further in from the pavement, up a few steps and in an alcove. Look out for the signs out front, or for the brightly coloured drum seats set around their outside tables. The menu tries to offer vegan and gluten-free options, and it’s been particularly popular with nearby apartment dwellers.
As with their food, Junkyard makes drinks to order. Our dragon fruit smoothie also contains mango, orange, coconut and passionfruit, and it’s a colourful and refreshing drink.
Ash himself is a chef, so has the say in the menu, and even spends time in the kitchen. The 12-hour slow cooked pork inside the black brioche bun is spiced, reminding me a little of rendang curry. It normally comes with sweet potato chips, but due to supplier shortages, regular potato wedges are provided as the alternative. As much as I love sweet potato chips, we don’t feel shortchanged as these are well-seasoned, fat and fluffy.
A refreshing alternative to the heavier burger options is the grilled salmon fillet. Its fennel, beetroot and blood orange salad is fresh and well suited to warm weather, and the horseradish and broadbeans have more of a textured finish, offering something different from the more popular puree. The salmon, the hero of the dish, is perfectly cooked and crispy-skinned. Cured beetroot and walnuts add further to the crunch factor.
Our sweet dish of the day is the peanut and banana waffles. It contains gluten free flour, so don’t expect a super crispy crust. The waffles do actually contain banana in the batter, not just on top, and have a nice, moist texture to them. They come with salted caramel, peanut butter mousse, grilled bananas and berries for extra flavour. Not everyone is gluten intolerant, but thankfully everyone can enjoy these waffles.
Junkyard’s variety of dishes and its eagerness to cater for dietary restrictions and its quieter (and more parking friendly) location makes it a welcome addition to St Kilda.