There are some places you go to that you know instantly that the owners deserve to do well. This is one such place. It's more than just a cafe, it has a cause. The Ambitious Act is a hub for budding actors and it's got brilliant food.
I don't usually read up on my review locations beforehand because I want to make up my own mind but as I scanned for the address I noticed that the reviews were overwhelmingly positive. Five stars time and time again. My judgement is that they absolutely deserve it.
On entering this very new vegetarian cafe (just four weeks old), I felt immediately comfortable and calmed. I like their eclectic style of furniture and especially the cosy upstairs space with the couches. I also liked the ethical plants and upcycled drawer pots. There were a number of lamps adding an ambience to the space and a fabulous view of the bustling street below.
Justin (actor, director and cafe owner) and Nicole (scientist and chef) both grew up in Tasmania, moved to London and are now in Melbourne cooking up a vegetarian storm on Clarendon St South Melbourne. The creative menu made both my friend and I giggle. They have played on the theme by writing it as a script:
The chirpy waiter asks: 'Would you like anything to drink?' As the customer stares at the waiter they both briefly glance at the menu, shocked by the variety available, the customer stops for a second to compose themselves. 'Sure… could I get a ….'
Justin and Nicole's 'ambitious idea' to provide a free space for performers (donations welcome) has come to fruition. Just this week, the space has been used for a photo shoot, acting classes and filming. Justin is keen to get more regular free acting classes going soon. He believes that Aussie actors are just as good as those overseas and he wants to support them to practise their craft.
There's not much in the area when it comes to vegetarian and vegan food but I need to emphasise that this is food for everyone to enjoy. My friend was a bit wary but her comment as we left was 'If all vegan food was like this, I certainly wouldn't mind'. This is an affordable vegetarian cafe with an admirable story behind the name.
Today I tried the cornbread stack (polenta, semolina and corn) with the delicious garlic mushrooms, avo salsa and homemade vegan cheese. This was enormous and try as I might I couldn't finish it. It was only $15. It took great strength to sway me away from my usual avo smash which was only $14.
My friend ordered the brekky wrap which was made from Nicole's own homemade flatbread. I think it was the best fresh flatbread I have tasted. This was filled with chilli beans, avocado and halloumi. What an ingenious combination. I must make mention of this ridiculously cheap brekky (on my list for next time) - Homemade cashew and hazelnut granola with natural yoghurt, honey and apple compote or fresh apple $10… beat that!
At the risk of sounding gluttonous, I also had the very long, fresh and fabulous combination fruit juice (beetroot, celery, apple, orange, mint, lemon and ginger), a delicious coffee and warm and soft in the middle banana bread with honey. I know, but I didn't eat for the rest of the day!
The food at The Ambitious Act is driven by passion and energy and delivered with care and love ... .and it shows. Good on them for supporting the Arts and thanks so much for the best breakfast served pronto!