Joe Frank

Homemade crumpets and a dog-friendly courtyard await at this sunny Ashburton cafe.
Julia Sansone
Published on November 13, 2019
Updated on June 01, 2020


Moving into the light-filled space once home to the popular Resident Cafe, Joe Frank had big shoes to fill. But big shoes the new Ashburton go-to for Italian brunch fare has filled. And it's all thanks to one Melbourne hospitality family.

Already bustling with hungry locals, Joe Frank is brought to you by the owners of Mr Tucci and Son of Tucci: siblings Fabian, Massimo and Romina Crea.

The cafe's name combines the names of their father (Joe) and grandfather (Frank) and the menu is littered with Italian favourites, Aussie brunch staples and a few things cooked by Mum. Nonno's Garden sees a bed of baba ghanoush loaded with roasted vegetables Meredith's Dairy goats cheese and fresh herbs, while the panzanella — layers of buffalo mozzarella, roasted capsicum and fresh fennel — is further proof that vegetables can be very exciting.

The cafe's moreish house-made crumpets are a nod to old-school Aussie brunches and come topped with mulled strawberries, zabaglione custard and pistachio praline. We don't recommend attempting to share these — you'll regret it.

If you can't quite commit to a full meal in-house, pick up a pork belly sandwich to-go or a fresh cake or biscotti made by Franca (Mum), who bakes the treats every day on site. These go well paired with a good coffee (it wouldn't be an Italian coffee shop without it), which comes courtesy of Melbourne's Veneziano Coffee Roasters. This can all by enjoyed indoors, but, during the warmer months at least, we suggest you make the most of the dog-friendly outdoor area.

We're guessing this new hotspot in Melbourne's southeast will quickly become an institution in the area, if its sister cafes' longevity are anything to go by. If you're not a local, you'll be happy to know it's located across the road from Ashburton Train Station, too.

Images: Julia Sansone


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