With a literary namesake, it's unsurprising that intricate, sweet homages to To Kill A Mockingbird vary from the subtle to the spectacular at Arthur Radley. Old editions of the classic tale nestle themselves within the fit out whilst the striking Gregory Peck takes pride of place behind the main service counter. It makes for an atmosphere that is, at once, playful and arresting, the deep chocolate walls and opulent touches of gold giving way to collaged artworks and bright red features.
This all-day bistrot excels thanks to a deep consideration for fresh, high quality produce. With a menu that is reflective of local tastes and European influences, Arthur Radley has cultivated a standard of unique detail, with perfect flavour combinations varying from a roast pumpkin, pine nut, spinach and caprinelle filo pie ($16.50) to the outstanding Moroccan chicken salad with sweet potato, dates and feta ($19).
'Arthur's Roast', sourced from the nearby award-winning Mailing Room (from $3.50), holds Arthur Radley's coffee offering in excellent stead, and is handled with care and passion. Nutty, smooth and gentle, its softly softly approach leaves a lingering sweetness unlike other blends.
Come Friday and Saturday nights, however, Arthur Radley truly shines. Those subtle opulent touches become all the more extravagant and the menu is kicked up a notch. Enter the league of fine dining: a spring lamb rump with baked polenta and rocket salad ($29.50) or perhaps the sweet potato and leek ravioli with mushrooms and truffle oil ($26.50) are options made complete with an extensive and thoughtful array of European wines. Finish this with service that is extremely personable and professional, with just the right amount of cheek, and you've found a gem. To experience dining of such quality outside of Melbourne's CBD is rare, refreshing and, quite frankly, a secret held for too long.
Acutely contemporary with a respect for the past, Arthur Radley's hold on timelessness has proved a success deep within the suburbs. Just like its namesake, it will surprise you with its unraveling, quiet perfection, and is only destined to become infamous.
Image thanks to Studio Constantine.