60 Pin Oak Crescent Flemington, Victoria 3031
|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).
"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).
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.