I'm a Happy mum, student and freelance writer living in Melbourne :-)
Published June 11th 2012
It's not hard to find a coffee shop in Chelsea. The locals even say that Chelsea is perhaps overrun with eateries but that's what gives Chelsea its vibe. If South Yarra's Chapel Street is Hollywood's Rodeo Drive and Chadstone is Melbourne's fashion capital then I think it's fair to say Chelsea is Melbourne's eatery Esplanade. This little town is perfect for driving to on a weekend. Situated on the beach, it's a great little location in both summer and winter.
Out of the eight potential cafes (and this isn't including the restaurants/ takeaway food joints), I have chosen to review one little cafe that has given Chelsea a taste of culture with a twist of character. It has only just opened and in its first week has given Chelsea a touch of sophistication.
The name says it all, "Cafe Opera", a family run business serving hot drinks, cold drinks, hot lunches and breakfasts and cakes all day and they stay open late, seven days a week. The cafe is inspired by operas and movies; the walls have mirrors, long flowing material from each mirror and quirky musical elements over the walls.
There are also large posters on the walls of movies and a giant chandelier in the centre of the cafe. The music as you can guess is in fact opera themed music such as "Carmen" etc. The menu features typical breakfast elements and a Greek feel to lunch foods. Each item on the menu has been given the name of an opera or movie relating to the food within- such as "The Titanic" a selection of seafood served with chips, salad and tartar sauce.
The meal I sampled was lamb meatballs in a Napolitano sauce and served with either Greek salad or rice and comes in either an entree or main dish size. It was beautifully presented, I chose the salad which was fresh and the dressing was light, not a full bodied over powering sloppy mess some cafe/restaurants choose to supply you with. The meatballs were small and would be a very suitable for small children. I had chosen the entree size and it could easily do for a main. It was reasonably priced at $10.90.
The "Big Breakfast" is a plate full of sausages, hash browns, bacon, mix veggies, tomato, and your choice of eggs. It is very reasonably priced at $15 and you get a coffee for free, I find this a great deal seeing just a few doors the "Coffee Club" would rather charge around $20 and an extra $4 for coffee and the service isn't as friendly.
Coffee at "Cafe Opera" is full bodied; a cappuccino comes with a firm creamy top of froth dusted with chocolate. I was lucky to sample the owners own homemade hedgehog slice which I returned the next day and bought a whole one. It was cut into small pieces so it was easy to eat. Other choices of desserts and cakes were baklava, American brownies, lemon slice and tiramisu.
The staff were very hospitable, the ladies wore flowers in their hair which added to the operatic theme. Overall I'd say this little cafe has the feel of a Mornington/Portsea type cafe but more reasonably priced. There are no hidden nasties in the foods, as they are all cooked fresh and are all homemade. I think homemade food gives a cafe a much friendlier appeal and this little cafe certainly greets its patrons with welcoming arms. So why not turn your computer off now, get in your car or hop on a train and come to Chelsea and enjoy the festivities at "Cafe Opera".