Eugenius is a little cafe my son had seen around the traps and it happened to be situated conveniently the morning we went to an open house. Having a cuppa before he had to race off to work was on the cards and if you don't live in the area, you'd be hard pressed to realise this cafe existed. Especially with all the construction going on around it.
However, if you look less than a block up the road, you can see Chapel Street from 99 Hornby Street, Windsor (0412 119 991). Ignore all the other opening hours you may have read elsewhere (including the Facebook page which doesn't seem to get updated) as according to the new menu, Eugenius is open weekdays from 8am to 2pm and weekends 8.30am to 3pm. On Thursday it opens again from 6pm for Jamaican night.
Why Eugenius? Because it's a genius of a cafe quips the owner who was in partnership running Manna Cafe for 5 years in Toorak 3 years ago. He built Eugenius around 11 years ago (it was an old factory in another life) to operate as a web design office. His customers kept asking for coffee, so when the other cafe closed down, he came up with a Eugenius of an idea. He still does web design work under his business name 4Micate - formulate and communicate.
No stranger to having been in the limelight, Eugenius has been written about by Broadsheet and Time Out Melbourne where he featured twice, the 2nd under the heading of ''meet the barista'. Eugene proudly tells me his high tea has been compared to the Windsor on television and basketballer Andrew Gaze is another personality that reviewed Eugenius twice when he was a TV presenter with 'Guide to the Good Life'.
Living above the cafe, this is not just a place of business for Eugene, but an extension of his home. Hence all the gorgeous, unusual, personalised artwork (well, art is individual and highly personal, but I did love the pieces he had) he has on his walls are not merely decoration or there to just look pretty just for the customers, but are an extension of himself. His personality stamped on the place.
Having a laugh, Eugene tells me he doesn't take food and coffee too seriously. He says his prices are honest and serving sizes are decent. He likes to see people eat their fill. He's the first to admit he's not a dab hand at plating up. He has a small menu, keeps it healthy and free range and makes everything on site. He also caters. I had a big breakfast with free range eggs of course, a fresh combination fruit juice, delicious coffee and fresh bread made at the cafe. He bakes sourdough, plain, multigrain, vegetable, gluten free corn, empanadas and pastries.
Jamaican Night is every Thursday from 6pm to 9pm with all you can eat chilli for $10 and beer and wines going for $3. His menu ranges from $8 to $20 with $3 and $5 prices for add ons and plain toast with toppings. It was definitely an interesting morning with Eugene who has also written a book: Harvey Shmidlap Seeks the Perfect Cheesecake which has had a nice little write up on the ABC's The Book Club. Need I say more. Come to think of it, did he say he was going to give me a copy? I vaguely remember something like that haha, so I better be cheeky and check. Bound to be a good read!