Freelance writer and blogger from Sydney (ex-Melbourne). Avid foodie and traveller. Loves dogs.
Published January 20th 2017
A quiet oasis in the bustling heart of Chapel Street
Shopping in Chapel Street South Yarra can often be a heart attack-inducing activity, especially on weekends. Looking for a car park can result in driving around for a good part of the hour and the mission to find THE perfect outfit for your sister's upcoming wedding (and within budget too!) can seem more challenging than launching a rocket to Mars. And let's not mention footpath dawdlers and rude sales assistants too. Luckily, respite is in sight – and in the form of a gorgeous eatery called Café Amba, located directly opposite The Jam Factory.
If your shopping expedition is getting a bit too much, Café Amba is the perfect solution for you: its cosy environment, gorgeous décor and warm, hospitable team ticks all the right boxes for when you want a bit of solo 'me' time. Add a solid all day brunch menu and excellent speciality coffee from two of Melbourne's best roasters (Small Batch for filter, Seven Seeds for espresso) and you have the winning package.
Café Amba has a courtyard for alfresco dining, which would have been the perfect spot to unwind under the sun. This time, however, my friend and I sat inside. There was something about the café's beautiful exposed brickwork, Scandi-influenced timber tables and floral wall mural by local artist Jess Bush that instantly made me feel at home. I also like the fragrant bouquets of flowers placed all over the venue, adding an extra nice touch.
I couldn't resist ordering the banana and pistachio French toast ($16). The bananas were caramelised in Canadian maple syrup and served on a thick cut of toast with this season's fresh strawberries, lemon mascarpone and honey baked pistachios. It was just the right thing to order for a sweet tooth like myself.
Meanwhile, my friend opted for one of Café Amba's daily specials: the breakfast bruschetta ($16.50). Arriving our table looking as pretty as the mural on the wall, the bruschetta came with roasted truffle and thyme mushrooms, spiced pumpkin, Roma tomatoes, wild rocket, lemon herb goat cheese and poached egg. Throw in some fresh chilli for a slight kick and some toasted mixed seeds for texture and you had a winning dish.