As popular Elsternwick outpost Artful Dodger approaches its third birthday, you'd think owner Daniel Zalcberg would be content with the mass appeal of his now infamous in-house coffee blends. However, Zalcberg decided to increase his hold on the south side of Melbourne's CBD and opened up a companion café in bustling Windsor – and now we have the delightful School of 7 Bells.
With a bigger focus on interior space than its older sibling, The School of 7 Bells has transformed a former dime-a-dozen Windsor junk shop and turned it into a cosy little nook that's perfect for a coffee, chocolate tart or some prolonged breakfast with friends. Spilling out onto the Chapel Street sidewalk it boasts a handful of tables that are quickly snapped up by the local crowd who gossip over their perfectly concocted coffees (a rotating collection of those famed house blends have been transported over from Artful Dodger, of course) and healthy sized portions are rolled out from the minuscule kitchen tucked away at the back of the café.
The menu is filled with what could be called a 'Standard Melbourne' selection; plenty of variations of eggs, healthy breakfast salads and, of course, that Mexican attraction that has penetrated almost every new café over the last two years, the breakfast burrito. Among the poached eggs and burritos, however, there are more unusual options such as the decadent red velvet pancakes, or banana and cranberry loaf. Thanks to the tiny kitchen, you should expect the food (and coffee) to take its time, but when it arrives the portions are generous and the service friendly and casual.
Whilst not the cheapest dining option available, the pricing is still in line with the general cost of lunch at the low-key end of Chapel, with costs ranging between $5 for a sweet treat such as a home baked tart or slice of cake to $15 and upwards for heavier lunch fare like the daily crop of panini sandwiches (which are also available for takeaway).
If you've never been to experience Artful Dodger, don't despair – The School of 7 Bells brings the best of it to a more central location, and its attention to crafting the perfect coffee will ensure it stands out from the competition in caffeine-cultured Windsor.