In the glut of Melbourne's cafe scene, a small joint in Newport is trying something a little different. Rather than shoeing away the pram pushers and dog walkers, they welcome them. What results is a space that is both warm and inviting (dog or no dog) from every angle.
After havoc wreaked by a storm, Leroy's reopened in July with a revamped menu, new fit-out and direction in what feels to be a complete makeover, while still retaining that local, neighbourhood feel. The interior is cosy and bright, with a garden, decking, an undercover area, booths and a playground for kids due to be completed out back.
The menu has been spruced up and celebrates seasonal and local produce. Anyone with a sweet tooth and eyes larger than their stomach will be drawn to the towering stack of OMG Pancakes ($16.90) finished with whipped ricotta and coffee cream, piled high with popping candy, chocolate fairy floss and burnt fig ice cream (which surprisingly adds a much-needed balance). There are a few tweaked classics, such as their take on eggs Benedict, the Newport Hollen Daze with hash browns and your choice of bacon or smoked trout ($16.90), and Melbourne staple the soft shell crab burger ($17.50) post-noon. Plus, there's a healthy smattering of salads, smoothies and juices, and grub for the kids. Coffee hails from Campos in Carlton and tea is by Teadrop.
In a time where more and more cafes tip towards the masses of Instagrammers and photo snappers, it's pleasing to see a cafe like Leroy's that chooses to embrace many of the Melbourne staples and traits that we now come to expect, but in a unique and soulful way. Melbourne cafe culture has its roots in this, after all.