Open the door to Eltham’s Third Chapter and two things become pretty obvious. One, this is a beautiful space. And two, the locals must bloody love it.
Third Chapter is a new 200-seat restaurant and cafe, just off Eltham’s main strip, and pretty much every one of those seats was occupied when we stopped by for lunch. The place was pumping, but in a very Eltham-type way. The locals here have a relaxed, un-harassed vibe (it must be all the trees and fresh air) and the timber-lined space was abuzz with families, friends, old ladies catching up for a tea and a chinwag, and hot chocolates zooming by at eye height.
Owner Kevin Cortesao took over the old restaurant, The Common, a few months ago, and has renovated the space to perfection. It’s large, light and bright, with a greenhouse-worth of plants hanging from the rafters. Try to snag one of the cushy chairs by the window if you can—they make for excellent people-watching.
This is the Cortesao family’s third venue (hence Third Chapter) and the menu has a little something for everyone. It’s mostly classic cafe dishes, executed with care and consideration, plus a few nods to modern Australiana. Think top-notch double cheeseburgers and a kickass parma alongside more refined fare like delicate vegetarian wontons, confit pork belly and chargrilled Portuguese Espetada. The coffee comes from Five Senses, and is dispensed by Kevin himself (“the man behind the machine”); there’s even a little hole-in-the-wall for your takeaway lattes. The staff are all smiles too: a sincere warmth you’d be hard pressed to find on hip-cynical Brunswick St.
If you haven’t been to Eltham, it’s a beautiful suburb, and Third Chapter is probably the pick of the local cafes. Brunchers tend to vote with their feet, and going by the 200 pairs we saw at Third Chapter, this place is going to become a bit of a green wedge institution.
Image credit: Third Chapter