Joining the likes of Snowpony and Arthur Radley, Mr Hendricks Cafe is the latest addition to the varying expanse that is Whitehorse Road, Balwyn. With this main thoroughfare cutting through the suburb from east to west, only in recent years have locals been able to perch themselves on a decent stool for breakfast, let alone be spoilt for choice when they do so.
Proving with it that patience might just be a virtue, Mr Hendricks brings with it an air of quiet confidence. Keep a finger on the pulse and you'll find the space to be completely up-to-the-minute; a Scandi-inspired fit out is replete with gleaming white tiles, opulent gold lettering, wooden tones and brave black accents of detail. On a rainy day, it couldn't look any more like a beacon of warmth — particularly when you've the option to book out the cafe's 'green room', which seats up to ten. Conversely, the secret courtyard is something of a revelation for the area. Big enough to be your backyard but unassuming in its presence, this is a place made for autumn afternoons.
Breakfast and lunch is handled with care thanks to a menu full of satisfying fare and unique touches. The coconut porridge with almonds and berry compote ($11) is a homely sweet option, whilst, come lunchtime, an impressive array of baguettes ($9) adorn the glass servery. Coffee is by Padre and is consistently nutty, smooth, and one of the standouts in the suburb.
If you're stuck in the mindset that Balwyn is a haven for the ageing and the wealthy, think again. Mr Hendricks Cafe is proving that good food, great coffee and well designed spaces can attract a crowd. Regardless if you're a lady who likes to lunch, have got the kids in toe after Saturday morning sport, or are hankering for a quiet spot of midweek relief, Mr Hendricks Cafe has it all under control.