This former corner milk bar is a relaxed, friendly way to start the day. Despite being a crowd favourite with the Bay Road Lycra Brigade on the weekends, this little Bayside treasure is the perfect caffeine pit stop en route to a dip in the bay.
The little brother of Ripponlea's acclaimed Hawk and Hunter, Little Ox benefits from the daily delivery of Hawk pastries, not to mention the Red Star fair trade coffee extracted to perfection. The all day breakfast ensures even the staples are presented with a fresh approach. The Spring Bruschetta ($21.50), for example, features house-cured salmon pastrami, seasonal mixed asparagus, pea smash, Persian feta, balsamic glaze and a poached egg. Naturally, all eggs are free range and local from Happy Hens.
The lunch selection is similarly inspired with the roast porterhouse, horseradish aioli and caramelised onion sandwich ($17), and the pan-fried calamari salad is lip-smackingly tasty for $18.50.
A recently introduced liquor licence ensures the food goes down extra smoothly, while the welcoming interior, decorated with white tiles and signature yellow stools, makes this particularly well-stocked seaside kitchen feel like home.
The iced coffee — served in a trendy jar, no less — was especially good on a warm February day, as was the cold pea, mint and cucumber soup, a summer special for $10.50.
With a solid menu and customer base, this Little Ox is no lightweight — proving that good things often do come in small packages.