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By Imogen Baker
June 09, 2016

The Penny Drop

With modern food, great coffee and an all-day attitude, this cafe is bringing something different to the east.
By Imogen Baker
June 09, 2016

The residents of Box Hill should be very pleased with themselves. Not only do they have some of Melbourne's best Cantonese food (among other cuisines) on their doorstop, but they've also just landed a brand new, insanely cute café — and we're already planning a pilgrimage to try it out.

After operating as a takeaway coffee pop-up in the area, The Penny Drop has opened a permanent 100-seat cafe-restaurant in the newly refurbished ATO building on Whitehorse Road. And hot damn is it good looking. We can't decide which part we like more — the experimental menu or the Pinterest-worthy interior, which has been seriously decked out by interior designers We Are Huntly. It manages to find a balance between minimalism and warmth (with the help of some pastel pink tones) and has a large circle feature that reminds us of The Kettle Black.

But let's talk about the menu. At first glance it may look like your standard offering, but that's the charm — the menu puts an Asian-inspired take on your favourite staples. Breakfast dishes like plain old pancakes sound like heaven (buttermilk pancakes with coconut foam, black sesame and pistachio dukkah, raspberry compote and palm sugar caramel), and don't even get us started on the potato and garlic chive waffle with poached eggs, ham, hollandaise and wakame. Some dishes don't fit any breakfast stereotype but still make our mouths water, like the tea-smoked salmon with spring onion pancake, bean shoot salad, avocado and son-in-law eggs.

The lunch menu (available from 11.30am till 3pm) is sparser, but burgers are prominent — the soft shell crab burger with Kewpie tartare, coriander, cucumber and lime takes our fancy — but the dinner menu (available after 5.30pm) really sparkles. Try the fried chicken wings with mandarin sauce and sesame ($13) or the coconut beef short rib with sweet fish sauce, pomelo and soft herbs ($39) and drift away to dream land.

The Penny Drop is open for brekkie, lunch and dinner all week as well as servicing all your takeaway coffee needs. Another cute, tasty reason to spend more time in the 'burbs.

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