71B Gamon Street Seddon, Victoria 30110432 241 276
|Opening hours||Mon-Wed 9.30am-8pm,Thurs-Fri 9.30am-3.30pm,Sat-Sun 8am-3.30pm|
|Prices||Moderate (mains $20-$40)|
|Payments||eftpos, Visa, Mastercard|
It's not the usual cafe story. Gene Kapaufs, the 24-year-old co-owner of Seddon sweetie Advieh, was wrestling for Australia at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in 2010. His mum, Sandra Farrugia, rang to say she'd found a place for the cafe that she'd dreamt of opening - a pet supply store near the family's home. Farrugia had worked in lunch spots when Kapaufs and his sister were growing up, but she'd always wanted a place of her own. Kapaufs leapt in to help.
He agrees the cafe's first year was a little ropey because no one in the family had experience in the kind of quality cafe they wanted to run. Kapaufs turned the obsessive energy he had thrown into sport (cage fighting and jiu-jitsu, as well as wrestling) into the new business. He hung around in cafes he admired, watching, absorbing. He pored over trade rags. He toiled. Slowly, Advieh improved: the service, the food, the coffee - even the layout following two extreme makeover blitzes. Now, after more than two years of trading, the family store is in pretty good shape.
I felt welcome as soon as I walked in. The smiles, solicitous questions, quick coffee order (and great latte), colourful food displays, and the warm timber-and-tiles decor all did their bit.
The food dances around the Middle East, with labne, Turkish sausage and tabouli strewn throughout the menu. Everything I tried was fresh and tasty. The ''Dukka'' is a breakfast dish of sourdough piled with pesto, avocado, rocket, shavings of pecorino cheese, a perfect poached egg and a generous scattering of dukka, a toasty North African sprinkle of hazelnuts, sesame seeds and spices, which added lovely crunch to an eggy brunch.
The breakfast menu needs more egg- and bread-free offerings, but lunch is a riot of vegan and gluten-free dining, with grills, falafel and antipasto leading the charge. I loved the smoky, lemony baba ghanoush and the lentil salad with currants, slivered almonds and the odd caper (and an unfortunate bit of grit).
Sweets include house-made Turkish delight, interesting muffins (chai spiced, for starters) and syrup-soaked, pudding-like orange cake with fresh cardamom. Outdoor dining (footpath and dog-friendly courtyard) and the prospect of dinners in the future add to Advieh's appeal. Just don't wrestle the owner if you like it less than I did.
3.5 stars out of 5