Miss Marie

Miss Marie Cafe.
Miss Marie Cafe. Photo: Simon O'Dwyer

45 Beetham Parade Rosanna, Victoria 3084

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Opening hours Mon-Fri 7.30am-4pm; Sat-Sun 8am-4pm
Features Vegetarian friendly, Gluten-free options
Prices Moderate (mains $20-$40)
Payments eftpos, Visa, Mastercard

★★★★☆
45 Beetham Parade, Rosanna, no phone

Unlicensed, MC V eftpos
Mon-Fri 7.30am-4pm; Sat-Sun 8am-4pm
Breakfast $5-$17; lunch $9-$19.90

In the inner-city cafe crush, the various Melbourne tribes find their own slots. But in Rosanna, there's Miss Marie and not a lot else, so all the tribes gather here. The day I visited, there was a granny with a trolley filled up (or emptied) at the op shop next door. There was a goth girl knitting, so perfectly pierced I suspected she was an installation. There were a couple of soldiers, elbows planted, knees wide, eyes laughing. And up the back, a large table was commandeered by prams and their caffeinated wranglers. Babycino central.

The constant soundtrack was the coffee machine: grinding, extracting, frothing, each coffee examined with a careful, critical eye before being sent on its important mission. All was abuzz. All was good. It's lovely here.

The shopfront cafe, open since January 2011, is broad and spacious, with recycled-timber tables and schoolroom chairs. Sunny yellow accents come in the form of metal stools, cheerful pepper grinders and vintage grocer scales on the counter, where they fail to draw much attention because they're surrounded by excellent house-made cakes. The moist, lovingly spiced carrot cake with thick cream-cheese frosting deserves particular mention.

But I am getting ahead of myself. The savoury menus are exuberant catalogues of breakfast and lunch favourites. Breakfast, served all day, showcases everything that might be done with the humble and wonderful egg. Pleasing side orders include a thyme-tinged hollandaise and ''potato crush'' that's cooked up with onion and parmesan.

Lunch is mostly a festival of the sandwich. A chicken baguette is emblematic: parmesan-crumbed chicken fillet is stuffed in a crunchy baguette and layered with lettuce, Swiss cheese and aioli. It's hearteningly normal, simply tasty. There's a little ritz from the cheesy crumb but nothing that will frighten the horses.

Servings are generally massive. A heaping pile of baked beans is scattered with rocket and crumbled feta. Way down below, sourdough toast is slowly squashed by the delicious tomato and chilli-rumbled starchy rubble.

From Miss Marie, it's a quick sprint to Rosanna station. You can watch eucalypts sway by the tracks from the commodious pavement seating. Forget the quarter-acre block; the real attraction of the suburbs is you can stretch a leg out at a pavement table without having it run over by tram or pram. One more reason to be charmed and disarmed by the lovely Miss Marie.

http://www.missmariecafe.com.au/