Julie is the author of a number of guidebooks, including 'Melbourne's Best Bush Bay and City Walks' & 'Melbourne for Dogs' (with RSPCA). Read more of her adventures at her walks blog: walksmelbourne.com
If your eyes enjoy the feast as much as your tummy does, Louie's Deli Cafe in Glenferrie Road, Malvern, just up from Malvern Central is worth a stop. The deli has the most delectable displays of meat, cheeses, olives, antipasti, borek, pastries, cakes and quiches. In fact the biggest problem here is deciding what to have. Further down into the shop are the lunch selections -- poppy seed bread bruschetta, gourmet mini 'pizza', foccacia stuffed full with eggplant, sundried tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, salami - is your mouth watering already?
Louie's is popular for both breakfast and lunch. There is a good changing selection of fresh salads made daily; an extensive choice of breads and pretty glamorous fillings for made-to-order sandwiches, and a wide selection of hot foods. The coffee is also reliably good.
The cafe is very long and quite spacious. Service is super-efficient though can be a bit brusque in that New York deli kind of way. You order and pay at the counter, tell them your table number and it arrives within minutes. The table and chairs are clean, if perfunctory, and positioned down one wall with a backdrop of the deli dry goods - all the more to tempt you to take home some glistening olive oil or exotic dried pasta. It can be a little more expensive than the usual sandwich bar (this $10 - $12 per person), but servings are generous and the food is really fresh and appealing. Definitely worth a detour.
Have been to Louies Deli on and off for 15+ years. Never overly happy. Went in today for lunch as felt like a bowl of soup. Older lady served me and my young son and was abrupt, rude and seemed annoyed w us! Soup was awful, overpriced and went down the wrong way after her attitude when serving us. $10 for a bowl of bad soup! They charge $12 for toasted foccacias! Will NEVER go back ever again. A total rip off for an 80's version of gourmet food.