Kanteen, situated on Alexandra Avenue and directly overlooking the Yarra River, is a real draw for cyclists and families, as well as those wanting a retreat from one of Melbourne's typical café-lined streets. As it is the only café in the immediate vicinity, Kanteen is almost always busy. However, the ample outdoor seating and spacious open plan interior mollify any feelings of being crowded or rushed. In peak periods, you may end up seated alongside other patrons at one of the communal tables, but this feels quite natural at Kanteen and complements the overall relaxed, pleasant and friendly vibe.
Breakfast is served until 3pm and the menu provides an interesting mix of both classic and imaginative breakfast options. The muesli is simple yet scrumptious and is served with fresh strawberry, apple and banana and topped with absolutely delicious yoghurt (a perfect balance of sweet and tart.) Milk is served on the side in a miniature old-fashioned milk bottle complete with a rubber stopper – a nice cutesy touch! For a more adventurous take on traditional porridge and muesli, try the black sticky rice with banana and coconut milk. Another delightfully alternative dish is the 'Kanteen eggs' - a new spin on Eggs Benedict, served on pidé with smoked salmon and spinach, as well as mascarpone cheese and lemon vinaigrette instead of hollandaise sauce.
Lunch is served from 11am til closing time at 5:30pm. The standard menu is short and simple, offering both a tuna niçoise and duck noodle salad, in addition to pidé with various meat and vegetarian fillings. A rotating selection of daily specials is also on offer.
Kanteen serves coffee (tepid, not hot – remember to specify personal preferences!), loose leaf teas, fresh smoothies and bottled soft drinks and juices. An assortment of muffins, biscuits, pastries and slices are neatly presented at the counter and are difficult to pass up. Old favourites such as gingerbread men make a nice addition to a second round of coffees or as extra sustenance for a post-meal stroll alongside the Yarra.