Quite simply the hippest spot south of St Kilda, Olie & Ari in Brighton's Were Street Village is the discerning, contemporarily designed hot spot Bayside was desperately lacking.
Serving good coffee and an all-day breakfast, the menu also offers a decent lunch selection including the wagyu beef burger with salad and red wine onions in a brioche bun ($17.50) and a tasty selection of toasted pides and wraps. The smoked ocean trout toasted pide, with dill, mayo, capers and rocket ($15.50) is absolutely delicious — a perfect flavourful choice that won't leave you feeling too bloated or over sauced.
For breakfast at any time of the day, however, don't look past the organic quinoa breakfast salad with fresh orange segments, toasted walnuts, almonds, sultanas and honeyed yoghurt ($14).
By Brighton's standards, the interior is positively inspired. Guttered out and stripped back, the former shop front has been transformed into a high-ceilinged, light filled space. Even the rear storage areas have been opened up with rendered concrete, mouse hole-style arches leading into the back, providing a more intimate, rustic sitting.
The expansive, central space, by comparison, is defined by the hanging wire light globes, while iron and light wood fixtures decorate the high walls and ceiling. Continuing the theme, large glass vases perch on the communal dining table, where light bulbs replace pebbles to support the towing twigs inside.
The staff are friendly, sporting their fetching denim aprons. As one diner expressly commented at our visit: "denim is such a nice break from all the black aprons around Brighton cafes". Perhaps it's the quirky detail that, in this suburb at least, sets Olie & Ari comfortably above their local competition. Not to mention, Olie & Ari is fully licensed everyday from midday, making those lunches stretch out long into the afternoon.
The Were Street Village is a quiet pocket of suburban Brighton, and an ideal place to relax over lunch with this discreet little gem.