Man this cafe is pretty. Like Pinterest-level pretty. If Small Graces is a little window into the future of Melbourne’s foodie aesthetic, we’re bloody excited for the future.
If you haven’t found it yet, Small Graces has popped up on Byron St in Footscray, just around the corner from the station. If you ever met anyone who turns up their nose and sniffs at the ideas of ‘Westside style’, just show them this place. Brushed concrete walls, more hanging plants than Costa Rica, cute textures and fabrics, lots of blonde timber, a few books and knick-knacks scattered around. It’s like someone ripped a cafe straight from the brain of Richard Curtis.
Graces is the brainchild of two food-loving hospo pros, husband and wife team Diego Portilla and Rebecca Howell. He’s a chef and a beekeeper who’s worked at the Lake House. She used to run projects for Jamie’s Ministry of Food. Together they know just about everyone who matters in rural Victoria, which means top-notch produce, ethically sourced and certified delicious.
Let’s take a squiz at the menu. It’s an all-day affair, which is a good start, and most things can be made vegan. Double tick. The chalkboard on the wall keeps track of the seasonal specials, but you can count on crowd favourites like rosemary raisin toast with Crème Fraiche and lemon myrtle, or a fiery kimchi scramble with broad beans and pickled enoki.
Personally? We’re coming back for seconds of the Mushroom Ragu: an umami punch to the face, topped with confit garlic, tarragon, pine nuts and truffled pecorino.
The coffee comes from Rumble Roasters in nearby Kensington, and there’s a rotating selection of single origins and batch brews, depending on the season (and what tickle’s Rebecca’s fancy). We’re gonna say something controversial here though: skip the latte and go straight for the Watermelon Crushie. This thing is sunshine in a glass: a frothy blend of raspberries, lemon, rose water and mint. A steal at $7.
Image credit: Small Graces