Fifteen years ago I traded a corporate career for life on the river. Close enough to Melbourne to get a quick City fix, plus a great community with excellent coffee and four healthy active boys to keep me entertained, I've never regretted the change.
Published January 23rd 2014
24 hour food and drink, pancakes 365 days a year, lovely
The Pancake Parlour immediately came to mind when the opportunity arose to spend a few afternoon hours in Melbourne one-on-one with the teenager that lives at our place.
We head down Canterbury Road to Forest Hill, but I'm showing my age, as on arrival it is apparent that the Pancake Parlour is no longer at the Chase. Fortunately a quick Google shows there's still one ten minutes drive away at Doncaster because having settled on pancakes, nothing else is going to do.
Inside, the atmosphere is French Bistro meets ecclesiastic grandeur
We arrive around 3pm to find we are not the only ones planning to eat at such an unfashionably late (or early?) hour.
There must be quite a few people in the know about this place, because it is not really on the beaten track. The Pancake Parlour Doncaster is a destination in itself. There is no cinema or shopping centre attached, and on busy 6-lane Doncaster Road, there's not much chance of accidentally coming upon the Franco-Victorian facade when out for a stroll.
There is a tweeny birthday party, a romantic couple whispering in a corner, at least 3 tables of ladies who lunch, and two extended families meeting after a visit to the Westfield up the road. Showing my age again, I still call it Shoppingtown.
The imposing facade complements the warmly exotic interior
I haven't been here since the 90s. A recent renovation has brought a rich sense a grandeur to the classic Pancake Parlour style, yet the saloon style leathery banquettes are still just right for sharing a Swiss Malt with your mates. The signature chalk-boards still proclaim the daily specials and sticky maple syrup is on offer at every table.
You can eat upstairs, downstairs or on the very French terrace.
What would the Pancake Parlour be without its classic upholstered booths?
The Pancake Parlour in Doncaster is a slick 24-hour operation. The largely youthful students on staff are attentive, yet unobtrusive and the place is lovely and clean.
Not everything on the menu is available in the wee hours, but bargain-priced lunch options last all day, and breakfast is served until the youth friendly time of 5pm.
The teenager chooses a stack with chocolate ice-cream. I don't remember ever having the choice of ice-cream colour before. Maybe I just never thought to ask?
I opt for Barramundi, which arrives with a teeny dollar pancake, cottage fries with sour cream and a very generous dollop of dill infused tartare. It's just the right size for a late lunch and goes perfectly with a mug of sparkling cider.
It really is very nice to sit with a young person and eat a daytime meal that is not presented in a cardboard or styrene box.
You'll appreciate the little touches like fresh lemon and spring onions