The Ambitious Act
INT. THE AMBITIOUS CAFE – MORNING
Would you like anything to drink?
As the customer stares at the waiter, they briefly glance at the menu, shocked by the variety available...
Believe it or not, that’s actually how The Ambitious Act’s menu begins. This isn’t just a cafe—it’s a cafe for actors. Thespians. Artists. People who get up and pretend to be other people for a living.
Think of it like a low-key version of London’s Groucho Club: a salon for creatives where you can come grab a vegan brekky, run through your script, and practise your hypothetical Oscar acceptance speech (“I’d like to thank Mum, for always cleaning my room...”)
You’ll spot The Ambitious Act on Clarendon St in South Melbourne, but it doesn’t look like your typical main road brunch bar. More like your Nan’s lounge room really—higgledy-piggledy, mismatched furniture, jumble sale tables, hat stands, planter boxes, and squishy armchairs.
We’re kind of crushing on the décor TBH. It was all we could do not to swipe a chair on the way out...
The menu is plant-based, deliberately tight and written like a movie script (see above). Maybe a little housemade cashew and hazelnut granola, avo smash with feta, mint and chilli or vegan scrambled ‘eggs’ with spinach and oven-roasted tomato. Keep an eye out for the rotating salads and ‘Veggie Pie Of The Day’. You can also pick up sweet treats from the cabinet: think bliss balls, blueberry vegan cheesecake, banana bread and gnarly thick-cut brownies.
What really sets this place apart is the Actor’s Space out the back. It’s a dedicated room for rehearsals, performance nights, script readings or just general high-brow chit-chat. There’s no cost to use the space, the Ambitious Act guys just ask for a small donation (which goes towards Melbourne performing arts organisations).
It probably goes without saying, but if the only acting you’ve done was Year 8 at school, where you absolutely nailed the role of Guard #3, you’re still welcome at The Ambitious Act. You don’t have to be on TV to eat here.
Image credit: Michelle Jarni