In a rare pocket of the north where decent cafes are not so thick on the ground, Pascoe Vale South residents are rejoicing the arrival of newcomer Parkstone.
Sitting pretty in a sunny, north-facing corner position in the otherwise sleepy Coonans Road shopping strip, the friendly, small-scale local sees familiar faces and cafe classics taking a new turn.
Thanks to his time running George Jones up the road in Pascoe Vale proper, owner Paul Vernuccio (ex-Cheeky Monkey, Rubber Duck, now ex-George Jones) reckons he has a pretty good gauge of what the neighbourhood was missing. It helps that he only lives a few blocks away.
"This area has such a nice village feel to it but has been really under-represented for good cafes," he says. "Locals have had to drive to Brunswick or further afield, so it made sense to open something here that could capture that market and keep it local."
Set on the ground floor of a new apartment building, with interiors by Eon Design (who also did the fitout at George Jones), the light-filled 50-seat space has ample room for prams and highchairs, which is proving a major winner with the school drop-off crowd from the primary school across the road. There's outdoor seating for another 40 people, too.
In the kitchen, Brazilian-born chef Leondro Mello (ex-Sake, Longrain) has also come across from George Jones and is adding a twist to the classics while keeping things lean, green and allergy-friendly – with a few cheat-day treats thrown in.
If you're in the mood for the latter, think carrot cake pancakes with maple walnut and coconut ice-cream, fried chicken with hot buffalo sauce, or eggs benedict with maple bacon on a waffled hash brown. For a more virtuous start to the day, there are plant-based salad bowls, smashed avo with heirloom tomatoes and mixed seeds, or eggs with miso mushrooms and seasonal greens. There's a dedicated kids' menu, too.
Other essentials include pastries from Noisette and coffee by North Melbourne's Roasting Warehouse along with a mix of freshly squeezed juices and smoothies. They're fully licensed too, which means you can totally make prosecco and granola a thing, if the mood takes you.
Open daily 7am-4pm.
9 Parkstone Avenue, Pascoe Vale South, 03 9378 8226, parkstonecafe.com.au