An accidental discovery; driving along Kerferd Road, standing there at the corner of Kerferd and Montague was Fat Albert - 381 Montague St, Albert Park. It was nearly closing time, but enough to spare for a quick cuppa. At no time was I made to feel hurried, and the experience was just what the doctor ordered on a cold day - the welcome, the smiles, the service and definitely the hot drink.
My chai latte (Prana Chai) was a relaxing holiday in a cup. Everything about it was perfect and well thought out. From the tall glass, slim enough to cup the warmth comfortably within your hands, to its fine lip, that let the latte slide elegantly, delicately and deliciously down my throat, it was perfection. A visit from a girlfriend a couple of days later was a good excuse to go back there and experience more than a well made Prana Chai.
Newly refurbished and just open 3 weeks ago, the venue is open, airy, fresh, modern, and with an outdoor setting much like the owners' other restaurant, Punchbowl Canteen in Port Melbourne. However, the menu is peppered with a slight Japanese influence, thanks to Chef Ryo who makes a mean Chirashi Bowl with green tea poached salmon, seasoned brown rice, blue swimmer crab, nori, white soy sauce and wasabi oil. Delicious and satisfying, it pops with Japanese flavours and aromas. Chef Ryo has brought his experience of a clean and simple, yet satisfying menu to the table.
From 11.30am onwards, you can also enjoy a Chicken Katsu Sando with panko crumbed chicken, cabbage and bulldog sauce with a side of Japanese potato salad; a Beef Brisket Sandwich with sauerkraut, gruyere cheese and more; a Banh Mi with roasted pork etc; a Cardini Salad with bacon, frisse, kipfler potatoes, poached egg, crostini and chicken with a herb vinaigrette dressing; or a Field Salad with dutch carrots, cauli, brown rice, quinoa, whipped eggplant and tahini yoghurt with a spice - roasted tomato vinaigrette. Looks like I'm going to have to go back and check out the rest of the menu and being a noodle aficionado, I'm most certainly looking forward to the future addition of ramen in the works.
The brunch menu is filled with fresh pastries, Ryo's Superseed Bar, Apple Crumble Porridge, House Granola, Mini Banana Loaf, Savoury Rice Porridge, Mushrooms in Miso and Kombu Butter, Tunisian Scramble, California Toast, Superfood Breakfast and a Fat Benny which is chilli caramel-glazed pork belly, kaffir lime hollandaise and poached eggs on sourdough toast. If you're super hungry, there are sides to be had to add to your order.
Having a Kids Menu at kids prices is a definite winner. Not to mention options of simple Dip Soldiers, Egg on Toast or Apple Crumble Porridge, to a more developed palate for Chicken Katsu Sandwich and Savoury Rice Porridge, along with three varieties of Milkshakes. A perfect place with an indoor and outdoor setting for the whole family to enjoy, not to mention the warmth and ambience of staff and cafe - head over and make your own discoveries.