158 Victoria Street Seddon, Victoria 301103 9687 8881
|Opening hours||Monday, Wednesday-Friday 8am-4pm; Weekends 7am-4pm.|
|Prices||Cheap (mains under $20)|
A recent addition to this Westside Village's main strip (now bustling with cafes), The Little Man is housed in the former Victoria Street post office, a cosy space they've kept bright and minimal. The overhaul was done by architects Lok Studio and includes simple Scandinavian-style furniture, whitewashed brick walls and turquoise tiles that match the stylish coffee cups. There's a small stack of disused post boxes (a feature window now fills that hole) as a nod to the building's past, but otherwise the space is knick-knack free. Despite the cafe's small dimensions, there's a biggish communal table at the front, but it's mostly small tables and the atmosphere is loud and happy, even when you're trying to squeeze past someone's table without dangling your handbag in their bircher.
The simple menu might seem unadventurous, but there's nowt wrong with standard cafe fare when it's done well, and The Little Man's appealing menu (breakfast served all day; lunch from 11.30am) and generous serves deliver - and are backed up with superb coffee and service. The queue for tables snaking out the door on weekends is testament to this.
Along with brunch favourites such as eggs benedict ($15), florentine ($16) and atlantic ($16), the fluffy sweetcorn fritters with smoked salmon and avocado salsa ($16/$18.50 with a poached egg) are a cut above your average ubiquitous fritters. Even the simple housemade preserves that come with toast ($6) are something of a revelation - ask for the lemon curd. Among the brekky stalwarts are some quirkier options - creamy vanilla bean rice with mixed berries ($10) and espresso ricotta crepes served with a berry medley ($14). Lunch is a choice of the house burger (not bad for $16 with chips or salad), vegetarian rice croquettes ($14) and the fashionably healthy quinoa, cauliflower, almond and goat's cheese salad ($11.50)
The staff know their coffee (Five Senses) and will talk you through their house blend (the delicious Dark Horses), their rotating single origins and their brew methods. It's worth stopping by for a coffee alone. There are also Chamellia teas for non-caffeine drinkers.
Kids get great service too - as well as free ''babycinos'', they'll bring a complimentary plate of bickies, if you're so inclined. Then there's the coolest kids' menu in town - standard meals (soft boiled egg and soldiers, $6; Nutella or jam crepe with vanilla, chocolate or strawberry ice-cream, $8) but brilliantly presented in vintage-style space shuttle bowls.
Weekend brunch round these parts is getting competitive, but The Little Man is a worthy Westside contender.