08 Jun The Penny Drop, Box Hill
The cafe scene all seems to be happening on the Balwyn end of Whitehorse Road, and Box Hill is left feeling a bit neglected. Hopefully things are set to change with The Penny Drop landing a prime position on the ground floor of the ATO building. Occupying a convenient spot within easy access of trams, trains and buses, The Penny Drop offers a contemporary cafe experience and all-day eatery to Box Hill Central shoppers and locals alike.
I first noticed its floor-to-ceiling windowed facade on the way to work, and after a bit of Googling, discovered it had only opened the week prior. Flowing lines, high ceilings, blonde woods and white tiling makes it feel light and spacious. The striking curved marble counter is home to a bar, and beer taps which flow with drinks later in the day.
In an ambitious move, The Penny Drop opened from breakfast all the way through to dinner straight off the bat. There’s a bit of an Asian slant to the flavours here, which is no surprise given Jason Shiong (ex-Longrain) had a hand in the menu. M, who says he doesn’t usually order sweet things for breakfast, is swayed by the waitresses’ description of the hotcakes. Two fat and fluffy hotcakes arrive at the table dressed with raspberry compote, palm sugar caramel and a good squirt of coconut foam. In an interesting twist, dukkah is sprinkled on top. At first the thought of dukkah on hotcakes sounds like an odd pairing, but the use of a dukkah mix without overly strong spices means the flavours are kept interesting without being jarring ot the palate. The flavours are good, and the hotcakes are moist. It is though, very sweet, and difficult for one person to finish alone.
I order the sweet and sour pork hock with fried duck egg, Fuji apple and witlof. The cubes of pork hock are crispy, and moist and tender inside, which is a major relief. The river of egg yolk flowing from the fried duck egg helps to meld the toast and pork together, and the witlf and Fuji freshens things up. I do wish there were more apple to enjoy with all the pork, and a bit more of a wet element, as all that toast eventually felt a bit dry.
It needs fine-tuning, but the breakfast menu is inventive, and the offer of an evening service means The Penny Drop could become a popular dining destination for regulars.
The Penny Drop
913 Whitehorse Rd
Box Hill, VIC, 3128
(03) 9077 7455