Einstein's Relative

Shop 1, 9 Yarra Street, South Yarra, Victoria

All Details
Good theory: Einstein's Relative extends the laboratory theme to its utensils.
Good theory: Einstein's Relative extends the laboratory theme to its utensils. Photo: Eddie Jim

Matt Holden

According to the theory of relativity, a man travelling on a train speeding through South Yarra station would experience time dilation relative to a man eating a chicken toastada in a cafe in Yarra Street.

What I think this piece of rocket science means (someone will correct me if I'm wrong) is that due to the effect of velocity, time will pass more slowly for the man on the train than the man in the cafe (but not so you'd actually notice it or probably even be able to measure it, even with an atomic clock, given the relatively low velocity of Melbourne's trains).

What's more, this is really just a thought experiment, because trains don't speed through South Yarra station: they stop there.

Chicken 'toastada' topped with a tumble of cabbage and radish coleslaw.
Chicken 'toastada' comes with a beaker of harissa-spiced mayo. Photo: Eddie Jim

What isn't a thought experiment is the chicken ''toastada'' (that's the menu's spelling, not mine), a nice tumble of crunchy cabbage and radish coleslaw with a harissa-spiced mayo that's laced with pieces of roast chicken and piled on an open white-corn tortilla. It really is there on the black ceramic plate at Einstein's Relative, a cute little cafe-eatery that has popped up in the street beside South Yarra station. What this Einstein's is relative to is Caulfield North cafe Einstein's 251, and owners Eitam Brami and Tomer Gian, along with Brami's Australian wife, Tammy, are now shuttling back and forth between the two.

Brami and Gian are Israelis, their chef Taiki Nakajima Japanese, so the menu has a kind of world-fusion feel with a solid Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern base.

So an old-school salad roll is presented on a rather new-school challah roll, and the Noble Prize Winner is an intriguing salad of haloumi and mushrooms sauteed in teriyaki sauce that goes all gooey, sweet and darkly caramelised.

The baked beans at Einstein's Relative...
Baked beans in shakshuka sauce. Photo: Eddie Jim

The specials board might feature a soup of sweet potato and coconut milk revved up with fresh chilli, and a steaming bowl of goulash, tender paprika-spiced chunks of beef served on yellow couscous.

Then there's the baked beans, a cafe standard but given an eastern-Med turn here with a shakshuka sauce: tomatoes cooked down for a couple of hours with sweet paprika, garlic, harissa and red peppers. The beans are served with two runny-yolked poached eggs rolled in dukkah on top and a little bowl of harissa on the side. The chef recommends adding the harissa sparingly, because, he says, it's hot. And it is, bringing a long, slow burn to the already-peppery sauce.

The science theme turns from physics to chemistry, with water served in laboratory flasks and a soda water shot poured in a tiny lab beaker. The coffee experiments are driven by North Melbourne roaster Small Batch's Candyman blend and regular single origins. Recently the single origin was a Colombian Elias Roa, which had juicy lemon acidity and a nice creamy body, while the Candyman, a blend of Bolivian and Colombian at the moment, tended towards a cleaner, orange-tinged acidity.

And the Einstein connection? The landlord at Einstein's 251 in Caulfield North was born in the same street in Ulm as the famous physicist. Which makes him, I guess, almost a relation.

Do … Strike up a conversation with Eitam Brami. He likes to talk food.

Don't … Miss the Frankenfood ''mookie'' - a cookie made with muffin batter.

Dish … Chicken ''toastada''.

Vibe … Laid-back cafe with an eastern-Med twist.

Rate this restaurant

Rate this restaurant:

Use [left] and [right] keys to rate, [enter] to submit, [esc] to cancel.

Rate this restaurant with 0.5 a star Rate this restaurant with 1 star Rate this restaurant with 1.5 stars Rate this restaurant with 2 stars Rate this restaurant with 2.5 stars Rate this restaurant with 3 stars Rate this restaurant with 3.5 stars Rate this restaurant with 4 stars Rate this restaurant with 4.5 stars Rate this restaurant with 5 stars

Write a review

Thanks for voting!

Write a review

Shop 1, 9 Yarra Street, South Yarra, Victoria

  • Cuisine - Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
  • Prices - Breakfasts, $5-$19.50; lunches, $9.50-$17
  • Chef(s) - Taiki Nakajima
  • Owners - Eitam Brami and Tomer Gian
  • Cards accepted - Mastercard, Visa, EFTPOS
  • Opening Hours - Mon-Fri, 6.30am-4pm; Sat-Sun, 7.30am-4pm
  • Other Branches - Einstein's 251, 251 Hawthorn Road, Caufield North
  • Author - Matt Holden
Close map


Be the first to comment.

Make a comment

You are logged in as [Logout]

All information entered below may be published.

Error: Please enter your screen name.

Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

Error: Please enter your comment.

Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

Post to

You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

Thank you

Your comment has been submitted for approval.

Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

Most viewed restaurants in Melbourne

View all

You can also view recent reviews for:

Most viewed restaurants in Brisbane

View all

You can also view recent reviews for:

Most viewed restaurants in Canberra

View all

You can also view recent reviews for:


From cooking advice to top accessories, here's a food lover's barbecue guide.

Winemaker Louisa Rose is the custodian of both Yalumba tradition and innovation.