Port of Call review

Spiced pumpkin waffle encircled by fruit, nuts and seeds.
Spiced pumpkin waffle encircled by fruit, nuts and seeds. Photo: Simon Schluter

7 Bay Rd Sandringham, VIC 3191

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Opening hours Mon-Fri 7am-4pm; Sat-Sun 7.30am-4pm
Features Gluten-free options, Vegetarian friendly, Family friendly
Prices Moderate (mains $20-$40)
Phone 03 9533 4657

You could say that Port of Call is the very model of the trendy modern cafe, but that's not to accuse it of corporate cookie-cutter sameness. The newie from the crew behind – deep breath – Touchwood, Tall Timber, Plain Sailing, Left Field and Coin Laundry continues the stable's Winx-level success with a killer bayside combo of a smarty-pants fitout and Melbourne new-wave cafe fare. Join the activewear-clad queue; pram optional.

The space

A former real estate agency near Sandringham Beach has proven itself to be a true renovator's delight. The back was opened up to let the morning light flood in, while the maximalist Scandi vibes finds a new speed thanks to a chequerboard pattern of colourful floor tiles, mint green trim and plenty of warm-hearted timber.

Scandi vibes: Inside Port of Call cafe in Sandringham.
Scandi vibes: Inside Port of Call cafe in Sandringham. Photo: Simon Schluter

The food

The food is designed for people who like to eat (correction: people who like to photograph their food, then eat). There is simply no other explanation for the soft-shell crab burger with fried legs sticking wildly out of a wickedly green matcha bun with a thick smoosh of avocado, pickled slaw and coriander – a meal that looks uncannily like the bastard love child of a regular burger and something from the Muppets workshop.

The house "superfood" muesli, featuring a highlight maple-poached pear amid a fibre-rich rubble, berries and edible petals, could get scouted by a modelling agency while vegans are taken care of via the fried cauliflower taco, the florets laden with charred cauliflower puree, daikon and vibrantly pink pickled onion (degree of eating difficulty: high).

Lamb and beans with poached eggs.
Lamb and beans with poached eggs. Photo: Simon Schluter

More veg-focused good times are to be had with the triple-stack of zucchini, pea and ricotta fritters, grounded in pea puree with a couple of poached eggs and topped with a mad herby tangle. It's certainly the kind of breakfast dish that makes lunch completely redundant.

The brew

Prahran's Niccolo provides the house blend: done latte-style it's caramel-smooth with a nutty aftertaste. Other hot drinks of note include Mork hot chocolate (choose between 50 per cent and 70 per cent cacao) and a golden turmeric latte that proves this patch of Sandy knows its audience.

Muesli with maple-poached pear.
Muesli with maple-poached pear. Photo: Simon Schluter

The booze

There will hopefully be a tiny wine list by summer, should the gods of liquor licensing choose to smile.

Avo index A perky Middle Eastern spin features roasted red pepper hummus, whipped goat's cheese, sun-dried tomato pesto and pumpkin seed dukkah, $19.

Overheard "The dog's getting tired of waiting."

Loving The gorgeous mint green and tiled-floor fitout.

Not getting Why you'd put kids' smashed avo on quinoa toast. High-GI white, please.

Score Two cups
Food 8/10; Coffee 4/5; X-factor 4/5