On a sunny Chapel Street corner, Abacus has managed to nail that all-day eatery vibe that often proves so elusive; its lofty, leafy space is bright and charming by the light of day, and manages to be cosy enough to make the dinnertime crowd feel right at home. What's on offer is a farm-to-fork experience that's steeped in seasonality, locality and isn't afraid to test out a little technique. The kitchen mills its own flour and even keeps its own bees.
By day, that all translates to a menu of bright and innovative brunch fare that pushes the envelope way beyond the usual smashed avo and corn fritters, into a place of olive dust-topped scrambled eggs and croquettes teamed with smoked almond butter. There's Padre coffee — done well, mind you — though you won't need much more encouragement than those sparkling surrounds to steer towards one of the breakfast cocktails. By night, a lineup of contemporary pizzas and elegant share plates play rather nicely with couple of wines or cocktails, from a smart, largely local drinks list. Somewhere in the middle? Nab yourself a knock-off and some real estate by the sliding floor-to-ceiling windows, and you've got a front-row seat to some of the best people-watching South Yarra has to offer.