There’s a good buzz going when we walk into Down The Rabbit Hole—and it’s only a sleepy Wednesday in Templestowe. God knows what it’s like during peak brunch hour on Sundays...
This cafe sits on an unlikely little retail strip. The sort of old-school place you’d find a local chippery, a defunct drycleaners or maybe an air-conditioning repair shop. Instead, you get a slick, contemporary cafe, designed by Melbourne-based studio Zwei, decked in geometric timber batons and pumping out brunch that’d put Collingwood to shame.
The only clue you’ve stumbled outside the inner suburbs are the eucalypts all around and the distant warble of a magpie.
Down The Rabbit Hole draws pretty heavily from the whole Alice In Wonderland motif. There are cartoonish portals inside the bathrooms, books and artwork dotted through the cafe space, plus Alice-inspired dishes on the ‘Eat Me’ menu.
The breakfast runs all day here, which is nice, and includes some cracking options. Benedict with Istra bacon, yuzu dust and the greatest potato rosti we’ve ever seen. Gin-cured salmon (they use Four Pillars) served with confit shallots and garden peas. Or how about the TFC sliders (that’s ‘Templestowe Fried Chicken’, just FYI): brined chicken, pressure-fried to a crisp, topped with white kimchi and chilli mayo.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, make a bee-line for the Maxijohn, a recipe that head chef Matt Smith perfected over a few months. It’s a Gingerbread waffle with blueberry gel, lemon curd,
a dreamy lemon & blueberry semifreddo, topped with shatter-crisp meringue. Crazy, crazy good.
On the coffee front, DTRH have put together two house brews, with the help of a Q-Grade master roaster. Even better, there’s booze on the cards. Our pick is the strawberry daiquiri: blended fresh to order from strawberries and Applewood Distillery Okar.
If Wonderland tasted this good, Alice never would have left.
Image credit: Fork With Us