WHERE AND WHAT
Sounds cosy, doesn't it? But Livingroom is no couch cafe with all-day breakfasts. A smart but inviting place that manages to be a great local restaurant and perhaps a reason to travel, it was opened nearly four years ago by Alan Markham and daughter Carolyn Liem and has gone from strength to strength, particularly with the arrival of chef Darren Daley.
WHERE TO SIT
The two-tiered room sprawls elegantly over a corner site on a sleepy street off Glenferrie Road. Mismatched wooden furniture and eclectic and homely design touches break up the more formal vibe of chandeliers and starched linen. It's a nice balance.
WHEN TO GO
On weekends Livingroom does a mean breakfast from 8am; dinner is Tuesday to Saturday and lunch is Wednesday to Sunday. They close earlyish on Sunday (at 3pm) and close on Monday.
From Tuesday to Thursday you can BYO wine; the corkage is $10 a bottle. The wine list is worth a look, nicely priced and covering a broad patch, with a generous selection by the glass.
Livingroom has been put on the map - receiving its first chef's hat two weeks ago in The Age Good Food Guide - thanks to the arrival of Darren Daley, who before making the move to Malvern headed the kitchen at city Italian stalwart Sud. Here his menu is more eclectic - a bit French, a bit Italian, a bit Spanish and a bit gently experimental but mostly within Mediterranean parameters. Lemon thyme and goat's cheese fritters have a pleasing crisp exterior and gloopy interior but are raised to another level by truffled honey that works brilliantly against the saltiness. Four thick tranches of beetroot-cured salmon are paired with thin strips of vanilla-pickled cucumber; the Victorian rib eye is cooked textbook medium-rare and does very nicely with Roquefort butter and thin fries. Desserts back the package, too - a chocolate fondant does everything expected of it, while a creme brulee is given a welcome kick in the pants by the warm notes of ginger.
As the name might imply, Livingroom is one of those suburban gems embraced by the local community. You'll see plenty of well-heeled regulars getting a warm welcome from the waiters, and out-of-towners (well, out of postcode 3144) too.
It's the perfectly realised local favourite.
Livingroom - 12-18 Claremont Avenue, Malvern, phone 9576 0356
- 03 9576 0356
- Cuisine - Middle Eastern
- Prices - breakfast and brunch: $4.50-$16; light lunches $13.50-$24; dinner mains $18.50-$34.
- Features - Licensed
- Chef(s) - Darren Daley
- Cards accepted - Visa, EFTPOS, AMEX, Mastercard
- Opening Hours - Wed-Sun 8am-3pm, Tues-Sat 6pm-9.30pm.
- Seats - 69
- Author - Larissa Dubecki