A Local Legends Guide: The Team at Third Wheel Highett Share Their Hidden Gems of Bayside Melbourne

"Watching people enjoy what we offer brings us all a lot of pride.”
Joe Rivers
Published on December 15, 2023

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Having a chef as the owner of a cafe means you're going to see some pretty special things on the menu. Having two chefs as the owners of a cafe means you're going to see an epic menu that's going to have you returning again and again. That's the set-up at Third Wheel in Highett, Melbourne. Chefs (and married couple) Jen Anstey and Mere Herewini opened the popular cafe in the winter of 2023. The pair are joined by friend and business partner Suzy Kyriakopoulos (who they jokingly refer to as the third wheel, hence the name) in a venture underpinned by a combined 60+ years in the hospitality industry.

In fact, the gang go way back. Jen and Suzy met while working in a cafe together back in 2007, where Suzy was head barista and manager, and Jen worked her way up to head chef. Mere had joined that team a few years back, but when the opportunity for premises came up in 2023, they jumped at the chance.

Only a few months after opening, the trio won the prestigious Toby's Estate Local Legends Award, beating out all other Toby's Estate cafes in Victoria, and it's not difficult to see why. The care and attention they put into the experience they provide to customers, from the food and drink to the atmosphere, is clear to anyone who walks through the door. Suzy is described as "the chatterbox of the three", and the group take pride in the fact they've "put together a Front of House team that matches her joy in providing a retreat to everyone".

The food is what grabs the attention, though. All dishes are made in-house, and the menu is Jen and Mere's place to shine. As they put it themselves: "We love constantly creating new weekly dishes. The inspiration comes from our travels and even viral online trends. We like to touch on all different types of cuisines, putting our own spin on popular meals. We're a real fusion, showcasing flavours from all around the world. Decades of working in kitchens means we have the confidence and ability to create dishes we're proud of". This all means the menu is ever evolving, but gnocchi, teriyaki chicken soba noodle salad, and prawn and saffron arancini with lemon and caper aioli have all graced the specials board in times gone by, and the team are open to bringing back popular past favourites if the public demand it. As they put it, "The three of us work really well together. Watching people enjoy what we offer brings us all a lot of pride."

An enthusiastic team clearly in love with the industry were always going to be great guides to the local area. We caught up with Suzy from Third Wheel to get the skinny on what's hot in their corner of Melbourne.

What's your coffee order?
Latte is my go-to, although as it gets warmer, I do love an iced latte.

Do you have a secret trick for making the perfect cup?
No secret, really, although I'm very big on cleanliness. There's nothing worse than serving coffee from dirty equipment. I also always tell my staff nothing tastes better than something made with love. Knowledge of the product and love for what you do will always show in what you serve.

From your food menu, what's the perfect pairing with a morning coffee?
Nothing beats starting the day with a latte and our eggs benedict: a great coffee and our house-made hollandaise served over poached eggs and grilled bacon – perfection!

What made you choose to open in the area you're in today?
We're excited about the changes happening in the area. Very excited to spend the next few years growing with Highett and the families that live in the area, helping to create a little foodie hub in the suburbs.

Where's your favourite local spot to grab a drink after work?
We're so lucky, just down the road, we have Hawker Typhoon. It's a perfect place for an after-work drink.

What's the most underrated spot for dinner in your area?
We are lovers of Bounty of the Sun in Balaclava. Probably one of the best Japanese restaurants. The service there matches their amazing food.

Where do you like to go to escape in nature nearby?
We love the beach; Half Moon Bay is a favourite. It's a great place to go for a swim and grab some fish and chips from Cerberus after work.

Any other local small businesses you think people should support? Galleries, barbers, gyms, retailers, etc.
Highett Gelato, right across the road from us, makes amazing ice cream.

Published on December 15, 2023 by Joe Rivers
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