08 Jul Scarvelli Cafe, Balwyn
A cafe with a difference, Scarvelli holds a paddock to plate philosophy. Though many cafes use local produce, not many can claim to source it from their own farm. Down at Swan Bay on the Bellarine Peninsula, is a sustainable farm run by Scarvelli Cafe’s owner, Clare Voitin, used to provide for the cafe’s seasonal produce-driven menu. This philosophy extends to the cafe itself, where pots are being readied for planting herbs.
Scarvelli also has quite the reputation for quality coffee, using beans roasted by Industry Beans.
The friendly and efficient staff, and quirky, but quaint decor (including a rather endearing…deer theme) help create a pleasant and comfortable vibe that’s perfect for taking time out of a busy day and enjoying pleasant company.
There was lovely outdoor courtyard area, which unfortunately was a little too chilly to enjoy that day. Instead we settled into the cosy booth seats in the corner and inspected the delicious-sounding menu. There’s some cafe favourites on the all-day breakfast menu such as muesli, and avocado on toast, but also many interesting items like chilli eggs and ham, wood-fired salmon, and the healthy-sounding Good Life Bowl.
We began by warming our bellies with some lovely hot drinks: some Prana Chai, and single origin coffee.
A2 went with one of the lunch items. Beef cheek sourced from Swan Bay Farm was braised, then torn and stuffed into baked mushrooms, accompanied by parsnip puree and sprinkled with brioche and herb crumbs, pickled onion and a handful of rocket leaves. The creamy parsnip puree provided a good counterpoint to the flavoursome beef, and the tasty crumb went together wonderfully with them. It could have done with a little more freshness, perhaps more of the pickled onion, but it was still a hearty dish perfect for the colder months.
The dukkah eggs were calling my name and I just couldn’t resist. Poached eggs crumbed with dukkah were perched upon a bed of spiced spinach and cauliflower puree. Perfectly oozy eggs married well with the smooth creaminess of the cauliflower puree and decadent, rich, nutty bite from the pine nuts. This was all balanced with refreshing and tangy pops of pomegranate seeds. It was amazing. I can see why it’s one of the most popular dishes here. I also opted for the addition of toast on the side. The generous slices of toasted sourdough were tasty on their own, but also perfect for mopping up the last vestiges of the dish. It would have been a shame to waste any of it!
Upon leaving we were handed some gluten-free goodies to take away and enjoy. Of course, we couldn’t wait and devoured them as soon as we got home. All the sweets are homemade apart from the croissants. The friand, though a tad sweet, had a refreshing lemony flavour. In contrast, the brownie was rich and decadent with large nut pieces scattered within.
The paddock to plate philosophy at Scarvelli is an admirable one, and the food is top notch to boot. Scarvelli is definitely worth a visit, and hopefully I’ll be back soon!
Disclaimer: I was invited to dine at Scarvelli Cafe as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own and not influenced by them in any way.
03 9816 8887
143 Whitehorse Road
Balwyn, VIC, 3103