Sitting proudly on Smith Street for little more than a year, Tomboy continues to delight urban neighbourhood dwellers with its clever mix of thoughtful food, detailed interior and wondrous selection of sweets. The product of Pia Hambour and Georgina March — the ladies behind wholesale baking business Box Brownies and providers of the treats you see at institutions including De Clieu and Seven Seeds —Tomboy is a shining point of difference in Melbourne's cafe scene.
Taking a slightly left-of-centre approach to cafe fare, Tomboy is charmingly littered with items collected from around the traps. Patterned jars, recycled bricks, a vintage speaker system and an expansive carpenter's workbench revived as a communal table spells out a thoughtful aesthetic consideration that extends to the menu. Although dependable favourites are available, including the avocado and feta smash on toast with a poached egg ($13.50), Tomboy shines off its beautifully delicate interpretation of seasonal produce. The menu, largely vegetarian and gluten-free, changes every few days to ensure flavours are consistently new and interesting. This includes a vey enjoyable grilled Portobello mushroom burger with chipotle herb butter, parmesan and rocket on a brioche bun ($12). Tomboy's tart of the day with a green salad ($12.50) is always a reliable choice, with variations spanning a myriad of roasted vegetables. Best of all, the light and healthy offering means that upon leaving, you won't be dragging around that over-satiated brunch hangover that lingers in the stomachs of many diners in this town.
After a few visits to Tomboy (heck, maybe even one) you'll soon realise the simplistic, wholesome approach to their food offering is all part of a wider strategy to bring their amazing selection of in-house baked goods into the equation. A brimming array of sweet treats on the front counter extends into the vast glass windows of the cafe, making them literally impossible to go past, and includes the infamous Tomboy brownies (available in original chocolate, raspberry, peanut butter and nougat, $6). Herein lies the true magic of Tomboy — individually they are truly astonishing pieces of guilty pleasure, but pair your meal with the sweet of your fancy and suddenly you've earned it. Any menu that can make you feel virtuously deserving of baked goods deserves a big tick.
Tomboy is quietly cool and confident; doing its thing and sticking with its conviction. It's a tribute to a sustainable existence whilst still making sure the finer pleasures are always within reach. Enter this thoughtfully created cafe sanctum and be rewarded for your efforts.
Image thanks to Tomboy and Shantanu Starick from Pixel Trade.