Mismatched teacups, retro furniture and jam jars for glasses might seem all a bit contrived, but North Melbourne's Elceed manages to err on the right side of kitsch. And, with its panelled walls, old brown tiled floor and fairly thrown-together aesthetic it almost fits the part. Whether you snag a seat in the original courtyard or in an orange vinyl swivel chair, you are, essentially, sitting in a local's home — it's just that this one doubles as a cafe.
Continuing North Melbourne's stellar cafe record (Twenty & Six Espresso is just a few doors up), Elceed still has an air of newness about it, despite opening almost two years ago. With new customers still discovering the tiny shopfront as they wander along Queensberry Street and a board of ever-changing specials, the cafe is fresh and never boring.
At the end of every day the specials board is wiped clean, only for new items — along with old favourites — to be added each morning. Each day sees a different pie, dish of baked eggs, iced tea and juice added to the menu, along with other breakfast and lunch dishes. And, everything from chocolate chip cookies, zucchini muffins and whoopie pies are baked daily.
While they like to change it up, there are some things that undoubtedly continue to work, day after day. Their pea and parmesan smash with ricotta, mint and poached eggs with toast ($14.50) has become somewhat infamous, and the Cyprus grilled haloumi with poached eggs, roasted tomato, rocket and pesto on toast ($16.50) gets marks purely on presentation. Other menu favourites include the house made granola with yoghurt ($10.50), corn fritters ($17.50) and Porterhouse steak sandwich ($19). Coffee is roasted by Supreme — and at only $3.20, it's some of the cheapest coffee in the city, let along the street.
Elceed's warm, tea-cosied interior is only second to what is a brunch menu worth coming back for. Whether you lounge in the courtyard or soak up the afternoon sun inside, it's somewhere you can take either your laptop or your Mum — although she might not understand the aversion to glassware.