The past couple of years have borne witness to the slow but steady reinvigoration of Abbotsford's hospo scene, as warehouses and dilapidated shopfronts gradually become interspersed with the likes of Dr Morse, Weylandts Kitchen and Lulie Street Tavern. Now we welcome to the fold another thumbs-up spot, in the form of Murray Street's new Mayfield Cafe.
The small weatherboard cottage that once housed Weasels Garden Cafe has been spruced up with lots of polished timber — the furnishings a mix of modern designs and repurposed retro pieces. Imbued with that friendly, neighbourhood vibe, the space feels especially snug when Melbourne's winter weather is in full, ferocious force outside. Wraparound timber decking holds plenty of promise for lazy summer afternoons, especially with a liquor licence just around the corner and dinner service on the cards for later in the year.
Though the breakfast and lunch menus are concise, they offer a thoughtfully diverse spread. There's more than a touch of European influence and comfort food aplenty, which really cements Mayfield's winter-friendly status. Settle in with the weekend papers and banish that hangover with the likes of a $9 brekkie roll (you'll find both carnivore and herbivore options) or the day's jaffle ($8). If you're lucky, it'll be something akin to the cheeseburger creation: a buttery white bread sanga stuffed with cheese and a beef patty, then finished with a pickle and slashed with mustard and ketchup.
There are eggs-and-sides, some imaginative, topped toast numbers and a jarred tuna dish ($14) that's getting lots of airplay, but the ideal cold-weather antidote is the creamy, cheesy polenta. A pool of the stuff is studded with pine mushrooms, and then crowned with a poached egg and watercress ($14), and is all kinds of soothing.
Come lunchtime, the kitchen serves up a house-made pesto pasta, along with a handful of next-level sandwiches and rolls –]— think a fish finger sandwich with mushy peas and malt vinegar aioli ($15), pulled pork with a corn and jalapeno slaw on brioche ($15), or a serious roast chicken roll, with pork stuffing, mashed potato, aioli, gravy and carrot crisps ($16).
Coffee is either a weekly rotating single origin or well-executed, Sensory Lab house blend (both $3.50), which they'll make on almond milk for an extra $1.
Whether you live around the corner or way across town, you'd do well to make yourself a Mayfield regular, stat. Not only is it a solid winter offering, but we're predicting this one will be very big news once the sunshine finally returns.