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Maria Cafe

A cheery cafe serving up Mexican-inspired brunch fare and fine single origin cuppas.
By Marissa Ciampi
October 06, 2019
By Marissa Ciampi
October 06, 2019

The Dandenong Ranges has welcomed a newcomer to town, and it's serving up Mexican-inspired cafe fare and fine cuppas.

Maria Cafe is run by partners Josh O'Brien and Omar Viramontes, who are also responsible for the nearby Lorna Cafe. While the duo's first venue is named after Josh's grandmother — and features her homemade crumpet recipe on its menu — Maria Cafe takes inspiration from Omar's grandmother. Drawing upon her Mexican heritage, the new cafe finds its culinary cues in Central and South American influences.

Specialty dishes include pulled beef brisket tacos with Oaxaca cheese and salsa verde ($17), lamb or grilled tempeh tostadas with beetroot slaw and marinated feta ($19.50), and the incredibly decadent sounding churros waffles — served with chocolate fudge sauce, sugared hazelnuts, strawberries and mascarpone ($18.50).

Other especially tasty sounding brekkie items include huevos rotos (fried eggs, chorizo ragu and potatoes with avocado lime crema and fried bread, $19.00) and croquettes benedict (panko-crumbed sweet potato and chorizo croquettes topped with red capsicum jam, poached eggs and hollandaise, for $19.50) — or the pina colada taco (made from fried dough taquitos, then filled with white rum custard, pineapple compote, coconut and salted caramel popcorn, for $18.50).

For drinks, the cafe uses Industry Beans and offers a rotating selection of single origin roasts, alongside specialty beetroot, turmeric and matcha lattes, organic teas and Mexico's Jarritos soft drinks. The cafe is also licensed and offers wine, beer and specialty cocktails to boot.

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