Kirsten Taylor was once general manager at smart South Melbourne cafe Chez Dre and its busy sister patisserie, Bibelot. But her first solo venture, Hoppa & Joe , is a world away from those big venues. "I didn't want a beast of a cafe with 75 employees," she says. "Just something small to service the locals."
She lucked on a corner sandwich shop on busy Heidelberg Road, and opened the 20-seater on July 14 – just 10 weeks after she signed the lease.
The decor is all cool greys, blues and whites, and the menu a one-pager by Kiwi Craig Towers, a chef whose past includes stints at Hairy Canary and Tony Starr's Kitten Club. "It's the basics of Melbourne breakfast," says Taylor. "But I wanted a little twist. Nothing unapproachable."
It's a cheeky list: a benedict with fried duck egg, duck rillettes, apple and truffled hollandaise; a crumpet crumble with salted caramel, banana and bacon; and baked eggs with cauliflower cheese.
The Chez Dre connection shows in the coffee from Canterbury roaster Maling Room, a rare treat on the northside.
Open Mon-Fri 6.30am-3pm; Sat-Sun 7.30am-3.30pm.
457 Heidelberg Road, Fairfield, 03 9044 7843, facebook.com/HoppaAndJoe