70 Adeney Avenue Kew, Victoria 3101
|Opening hours||Mon - Fri, 7am - 4pm; Sat - Sun, 8am - 4pm|
|Features||Cheap Eats, Family friendly|
|Prices||Cheap (mains under $20)|
|Phone||03 9817 3993|
A TV show about nothing set in Melbourne rather than Manhattan – a Seinfeld called Katzfeld, a Friends called Buddies – would need a public place where Danny Katzfeld and his frenemies could gather to ease the cabin fever induced by living their lives in each other's apartments, a coffee shop where the Buddies could nurse muggaccinos and freshly bruised hearts.
But it wouldn't be a coffee shop, right? And they'd be flat whites, not muggaccinos. It would be a corner-store cafe, a former milk bar on a suburban street that serves lattes as well as lollies: it would be Adeney Milk Bar in Kew where, just over two years ago, brother and sister James and Cat Laskie turned the local shop (they grew up nearby) into the Corner-Store Cafe From Central Casting.
The props and the extras are in place: a wood-panelled counter; hanging Edison lamps; cosy tables for two; a back room with a mantelpiece and gas fire from the old shop house; and a stream of first-name-basis locals, including Mrs Thingummy, who wanders in for morning coffee wearing Ugg slippers and tracky pants, and cute toddler Charlotte, who scores a white marshmallow and says, "I want a pink one, too!" ("Well, you have got two hands …")
What can't be supplied by any props department is the friendly vibe at Adeney. "Lots of locals come down for coffee," says James Laskie. "And we like to have a chat and find out what's going on in people's lives. And not just us: our staff as well."
There's a friendly menu of breakfasts, too, dishes you could probably make yourself but won't: they'll do a better job here. Noisette toast with spreads ($6) is simple and homely, banana bread lands with yoghurt and honey ($5.50), and free-range eggs are poached, scrambled or fried ($10) with a range of sides.
Smashed avocado comes in two versions: a classic with fetta, mint and lemon on multigrain toast ($14), or, at the moment, a winter variation with chilli, coriander and fresh lime ($14). "We wanted to do good, simple food," says James Laskie. "We've got the staples we can't take off the menu, so we try things out on the specials board."
The omelette special would do for lunch as well ($16), it's a generous plate-filler studded with caramelised onion, basil, roasted cherry tomatoes, melty mozzarella and nicely porky pancetta; while two toothy, mildly spicy corn fritters are stacked alongside a pair of poached eggs, a diced cherry tomato salad and a smear of avocado puree ($16).
What Friends and Seinfeld also don't have is decent coffee: not by Melbourne standards. Adeney has that covered with the Fitzroy Street blend from Industry Beans, and regular single origins. "Steve and Trevor (from Industry Beans) know what they're doing," says Laskie. "And they're siblings running a business, just like us."