If you could dine with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
High on my list would definitely be the late and great screen icon Marilyn Monroe.
At A Café Etc on Jetty Rd, Brighton my wish was granted- brunch with the legendary Ms Monroe. Or so it seemed.
Perhaps inspired by Marilyn herself who said "Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring". This is not your ordinary café.
Not only is it quirky and cute but very unique. From floor to ceiling the walls of this delightful café are plastered with images of the aforementioned movie star. There are all sorts of posters and pictures of her movies and modelling. You could be anti-social and stare at the walls for hours on end.
The décor is fascinating and draws a crowd but it is the food that will keep you coming back. For a café it has an extensive menu with items such as pizza, salad, bruschetta, lasagne, focaccia and much more. The main event here is the all day breakfast with porridge, bagels, toast, bacon and eggs on offer.
My pick is the strawberry or banana crepes. They are light yet filling and come served with a generous helping of your chosen fruit plus a scoop of ice cream that will leave you satisfied but not bloated.
The cake display is devilishly tempting with a mouth-watering selection of decadent cakes and slices. A small sign reminds and encourages us "Stressed spelled backwards is desserts. Coincidence? I think not!"
As for drinks, the choice is yours. There is juice, soft drink, smoothies, milkshakes, tea, coffee, hot chocolate and the like to quench your thirst.
You can eat inside or out. Inside you'll be able to bask in the atmosphere of this Monroe themed café and gaze at the walls as you sip your latte. If being surrounded by Marilyn is too distracting for you, dining outside provides the perfect opportunity to catch some rays of sun on a nice day and partake in spot of people watching. The outside area is great, if like many you've taken your dog for a walk along Brighton beach, as you can both recuperate and replenish yourselves out here.
If you explore and wander through this café that is as charming as Marilyn Monroe herself, you'll pass a self-serve water station, open a set of doors to another eating area, discover a carport, locate the rest rooms and it is here you will stumble across another delightful surprise… bunnies! Yes, out the back (far, far away from any food) is a small pen with rabbits and guinea pigs. They are very cute and I'd imagine very well fed pets.
A Café Etc is open every day from 8am- 5pm. It gets very busy on the weekends (Sunday in particular) so it is best to call ahead and book a table. This is perhaps the only downfall as during peak periods it is very crowded, difficult to move around (would be especially difficult with wheelchairs or prams) and the staff can come across as rushed and anxious.
The 'Marilyn Monroe Café' as it has come to be known, offers so much for so little- beachside dining, shrine to Monroe, pet rabbits and of course, an enormous array of your favourite food which will cost you between $5-$15. Talk about value for money.
At A Café Etc you get just that- a café with a little bit extra.