Freelance writer and blogger from Sydney (ex-Melbourne). Avid foodie and traveller. Loves dogs.
Published January 20th 2017
Waddle Into This Cosy Family-Run Gem
Weekends are the perfect time for me to unwind after a busy week as well as catch up with friends over a mouth-watering brunch and some coffee. On most weekends, I head to Melbourne's inner suburbs for these much-loved brunch gatherings but every now and then, I like to stay in my local area. While brunch options are significantly reduced the further out of the city you go, there are nevertheless some suburban gems that deserve to be praised just as much as their inner-city counterpart. Kew East's Fat Penguin is one of them.
Hospitality veterans Frank and Jenny Facciolo own Fat Penguin. If you were a Melbourne University alumni like myself, you might recall student institutions such as The Mitey Bite and Frank's Café – they were owned by the Facciolos and I solely blame them for enticing me to Frank's every other day with their delicious $1 pizza slices. Nowadays, they oversee Fat Penguin while their son David runs the venue's day-to-day operations.
According to David, the café's name is symbolic of breaking the ice, a meeting place for conversations to freely flow in a comfortable setting – much like your own home. Coincidentally, Fat Penguin also used to be a residential dwelling complete with a sunny courtyard, the perfect spot to soak up some Vitamin D with your furry four-legged friends.
Fat Penguin's homely setting makes it easy for us to linger longer
As for the food, Fat Penguin offers a succinct menu with all-day breakfast and lunch options. There is also an extensive cabinet display filled with ready-made sandwiches and paninis and catering is also happily offered for functions, work meetings and parties.
All day breakfast at Fat Penguin: sweet corn and smoked paprika fritters, citrus avocado and fetta on toast, and cured salmon with citrus salad
My two dining companions and I ordered from the all-day breakfast menu; the list comprised of dishes hovering around the $18-20 mark with plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options in the mix. I enjoyed Fat Penguin's sweet corn and smoked paprika fritters ($18), served with freshly made guacamole, poached egg, zucchini, rocket and beetroot relish. Meanwhile, my buddies ordered the citrus avocado and fetta on toast ($18) and cured salmon and citrus salad ($21) respectively. All dishes were well portioned and delicious down to the last bite; I especially really liked the zesty flavours in the cured salmon salad (grapefruit, fennel, pomegranate and orange reduction).
Coffee at Fat Penguin; beans supplied by Where Is Marcel?
We lingered over coffees once our plates were cleared away; my latte was silky and smooth, made with beans from Melbourne coffee supplier Where Is Marcel. While we would have loved to sample some sweets, we were happily full from our brunch meals so it looks like we'll have to return for more.