It’s not often we write about North Balwyn, but it might be time to launch some serious Sunday investigations. Especially if more places like this pop up.
Guys, welcome to Olive Lane.
Olive is a new Hellenic-inspired brunch bar, which basically means Melbourne brekky with a Grecian twist. Want golden-fried saganaki at 10am in the morning? Done. Greek yoghurt bowls with caramelised figs and mixed berry compote? Opa till you drop-a. The whole menu was designed by award-winning chef Natalia Gaspari.
From the shop-front on Doncaster Rd, Olive Lane looks like a patisserie, and the guys do have their own in-house pastry chef. Every day they’re serving up a range of house-baked calorific goodness: sweet baklava, lemony raspberry tarts, delicate things with custard and sticky orange cakes, heavy on the syrup. If you can survive the trip past the pastry counter, good for you (and please tell us the secret to self-control).
Inside, the space is pretty stunning—exposed brick on the back wall, big high ceilings, hung with beams and planters. There’s peach bench seating running down one side of the cafe, otherwise you can go al fresco in the sunny courtyard out back.
Now the big decision—what to order. TBH we can’t help you here. It’s all so tempting. We tried the halloumi saganaki with figs, tomato salsa and a very interesting ouzo dressing (trust us, the whole thing works).
If you’re after something more mainstream, try the eggs benny with spicy hollandaise, spinach and smoked ham. Whatever you end up ordering, save a second stomach for the fried loukoumades Greek doughnuts—drizzled in honey and so good we could have eaten three platefuls.
Coffee comes courtesy of Veneziano. Or, more accurately, they’re supplying the espresso. See there’s also traditional Greek coffee on the cards. If you’ve never tried this stuff before, fair warning: it could double as NASA rocket fuel. Not for the faint-hearted.
Image credit: Jenna Fahey-White