There's a new kid on the block in the Melbourne cafe scene, and he's quite the character. Denis the Menace is the new Cremorne venture from the owner of Prahan's St Edmonds, promising great food served with a playful attitude in an environmentally friendly space.
Setting up shop in an old up-cycled warehouse, owner Adam Wilkinson was clearly channelling his cafe's namesake when deciding on his menu. Light breakfast options include Running Late Roti ($10) and Fancy Toast ("we were trying to make bread, except someone accidentally spilled raisins and orange zest in the dough"). Those after something a bit heartier might like to try the Big Green Food Fight ($14), consisting of shredded kale, broccoli, avocado, buckwheat kernels, pistachios and chilli served with a poached free range egg.
The lunch selection is similarly mischievous, with a poached trout coconut curry called the Thai'm Out ($18); a meatless take on the Sunday roast dinner named Kind of Like Mum's ($15); and soba noodles with tofu, shiitake, seaweed, eggplant and snow peas in your choice of sesame or ponzu dressing called the Oh Shit-ake ($15).
But while there are plenty of giggles to be had when you're ordering your food, when it comes to sustainability, Denis takes things seriously. Designed by eco-architect Simon Cookes from Duckbuild, the building is fitted with solar panels and recycled timber padding, and even has a worm farm for composting. Diners can sit on reconstructed apple crates and drink water from recycled Carlton Draught bottles while appreciating the cumquat trees that line the cafe's interior. Or if you'd rather sit outside, the cafe has its own courtyard, complete with old board games and Lego.