They say that good things come to those who wait. The day we dropped by Ebenezer Coffee and Wine Bar—the much-lauded Black Rock day-to-night eatery—we’d been waiting in traffic for almost an hour trying to get through the CBD (roadworks along the entirety of Flinders Street…really, Melbourne?!). By the time we got to the bayside venue that’s been on everyone’s lips, it was going to take a LOT to turn our road rage-weary frown upside down. With the promise of mouth-watering boutique wines, incredible local produce and the best terrine in town, our hopes were high.
Ebenezer itself is a Melbourne bar and eatery with a story that’s worth telling. The brainchild of Duncan Thomson, who’s experience includes overseeing Arts Centre Melbourne’s food and drink offerings, as well as working with small-scale Victorian producers at the Yarra Valley’s Innocent Bystander, the coffee and wine bar is real labour of love that brings together Thomson’s top foodie finds from across the state. Choosing to eschew the hiked-up prices and hype-driven world of inner city dining, Ebenezer Coffee and Wine Bar is all about good quality, honest food and drink, served in an environment that encapsulates relaxed, lived-in luxury—the sort of place you can just as easily drop by for a quick Seven Seeds coffee in your joggers as you can enjoy a three-course meal with all the trimmings, or a date-night glass of wine while enjoying the dusk sunset.
If you’re looking for a delicious breakfast in Black Rock, the menu certainly won’t disappoint. You’ll find familiar favourites made using only the freshest ingredients, including cinnamon porridge, sliced avocado with goats cheese and chilli on toast, and the house twist on Eggs Benedict, which comes served on hand-rolled hash browns. The Ebenezer Benedict is garnering the cafe a reputation in its own rite—taking three days to prepare, the hash browns are streets ahead of the usual breakfast fare.
Not partial to lashings of the finest hollandaise? There are some incredible clean-eating options at the Black Rock cafe. The zucchini and quinoa fritters, served with smoked ocean trout, fresh spinach, and a poached egg is an early-morning must-try, complemented by a house-made tomato relish that’s the perfect combination of sweet and tart.
The lunch and dinner menus at Ebenezer are equally well constructed, with a focus on seasonality. Small dishes combine rich local flavours in wholesome dishes—think pork, prune and pistachio terrine that’s served in hearty measures with a zucchini pickle that’s straight from the kitchen—while the bigger bites include everything from a delicious, delicately spiced cauliflower, pomegranate and crushed hazelnut salad, to confit duck leg risotto, to slow-cooked pork belly served with cider-braised cabbage, apple and celeriac roulade. Pair any of the dishes with a recommended wine (while the staff have tip-top knowledge, on most days you’ll find Thomson himself on hand for some awesome recommendations) and, Listers, you’ll have yourself a winner.
Our Ebenezer Coffee and Wine Bar experience wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the Cuban pulled pork sandwich. Slow-cooked for 12 hours and hand-pulled to keep its meaty, juicy texture, this is perhaps the best pulled pork sandwich we’ve eaten in the past year, and that’s not a statement we make lightly. The pork itself tastes almost sweet-cured which, when paired with cheddar, rocket leaves, and zucchini and green tomato pickle, then sandwiched between two slices of mixed wholegrain bread, is akin to a mouth-watering religious experience. Biting into this suddenly made our hour-long delay worth it: Meat-lovers, this sandwich means business.
As well as operating as an epic eatery, the Black Rock restaurant is somewhat of a bayside cellar door for local wineries to showcase their wares. Focusing on small-batch producers as a platform to present hidden gems and experimental blends, Ebenezer’s cellar door is open every day, but it’s the Sunday sessions that we’re loving—the perfect place to try some undiscovered bottlings, whether you’re keen to sit an have a glass in the design-savvy venue, or fancy picking up a bottle or two to take home. To keep up to speed with the latest cellar door events, check out the Ebenezer Coffee and Wine Bar Facebook page.
No, Ebenezer isn’t reinventing the wheel—there’s no nitrogen-infused cocktails or molecular-engineered nibbles—but for food fans who are looking for honest, back-to-basics fare that wouldn’t be out of place in top CBD restaurants, the Black Rock eatery is an absolute treat. Whether you’re a local looking for your new favourite brunch spot, or a city-dweller that needs an excuse to escape the metropolis for a day, this is one bayside beauty that needs to be on your list.
Ebenezer Coffee and Wine Bar | Black Rock
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Image credit: Sabine Legrand and Simon Shiff for The Urban List / Ebenezer Coffee & Wine Bar