Wolf and Hound

Kylie Northover
The soon-to-be-signature Franklin toastie at Wolf and Hound.
The soon-to-be-signature Franklin toastie at Wolf and Hound. Photo: Pat Scala

60 Pin Oak Crescent Flemington, Victoria 3031

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Opening hours Mon-Fri 7am-4pm; Sat 8am-4pm
Features Outdoor seating, Licensed
Prices Cheap (mains under $20)
Phone 03 9372 6979

Luke Whitworth's tiny cafe might be the embodiment of the old adage "it's better to do one thing well than 10 things poorly". He's fitted out a small, awkwardly-shaped space into a bright and cosy cafe with an emphasis on local, quality coffee and devised a small and simple menu, largely dedicated to the toasted sandwich.

These are not your standard throw-it-together-in-the-Breville-at-home affairs. Whitworth uses artisan bread from South Melbourne baker Brasserie and locally sourced seasonal fillings to create some next-level gourmet toasties.

As well as a rotating roster of seasonal specials, his upscale delights include The Grizz, made with thyme and buttered mushrooms, brie, rocket and pecorino in seeded bread ($13.50), the Gracie, with baked garlic broccoli, cheddar and sweet pickled mustard in seeded bread ($12.50) and the toastie already shaping up as Wolf and Hound's signature, The Franklin - slow-cooked pork shoulder, ham, Swiss cheese, mustard mojo sauce and pickles in a pressed white roll ($14.50).

Wolf and Hound's petite interior.
Wolf and Hound's petite interior. Photo: Pat Scala

"I'm a big toastie fan. When my Floridian girlfriend and I spent a year in Florida we ate our weight in Cuban sandwiches, so that's where the Franklin - named after my dog! - evolved from," says Whitworth.

"You don't see the Cuban on every menu - Reubens and pulled pork sandwiches are a dime a dozen but a good quality Cuban is something I was really excited about."

There are also lighter options like toast and spreads (from local purveyor 99th Monkey), fruit toast ($6), house-made muesli ($12) and The Crumpet, two Dr Marty's with hazelnut spread, banana, strawberries, pomegranate maple molasses and toasted almonds and labne ($14.50).

The Grizz toastie with mushrooms, brie, rocket and pecorino.
The Grizz toastie with mushrooms, brie, rocket and pecorino. Photo: Pat Scala

That's pretty much it, besides extremely good coffee roasted by Kensington's Rumble Coffee Roaster and tea, chai and juice. Given Wolf and Hound's size limitations, it's an impressive line-up.

Whitworth, who worked for years as a manager at nearby STREAT on Racecourse Road, hadn't planned it this way - his vision was determined by the location. He stripped back the 35-metre space, using every available space he could to best advantage.

"The concept really was shaped by what we could do in terms of kitchen - we have room for a big sandwich press and a reasonably big toaster - and storage."

And, of course, the coffee machine: "That was the original idea, to provide the best specialty coffee in the area," says Whitworth. "And to do good, honest food."

Wolf and Hound - which also prides itself on being very dog-friendly - might be off the main drag, down the quaint and quiet Pin Oak Crescent that runs alongside the railway line, but it's already proving a worthy diversion among locals.

http://www.wolfandhoundcafe.com.au/