Teacher educator and author of many teacher reference books. Amused by random ideas and loves random acts of kindness. Enjoys writing humour...seriously!Please see my Instagram: wilsonjeni
Published November 8th 2013
Only good people know where it is
A great place to meet a mate or lover
If this was a scene from an old movie you would expect to see gangsters huddled or lovers snuggling in the corner. In the shadows deals would be made and mistresses courted.
These days this tiny cafe, down an alley off the main drag of Eltham, is relatively unknown even to the locals. The manager, Kate says that 'Only good people know where we are'. This causes me to be unnecessarily and obsessively introspective because I've lived in the area all my life and only recently discovered this boutique cafe.
Not the usual cafe
When I walked in Kate asked 'Can I help you?' She said it in a way that indicated that she really enjoys her job and she is there to make your visit enjoyable. She had a laugh with the customers, made a joke and when another customer came in she called out 'Hey John, you're in early today' He didn't order but she poured him a drink. Another regular, nicknamed Cuddles, was fixing the fan.
I figured that they must have a few regulars. Kate described the clientele as diverse as the people of Eltham. The Lane cafe is family friendly (there's a toy box in the corner). Local students and people who have just got off the train, local council members and the fire officers from just up the road are some of their regulars.
Breathe in, it's snuggly in here
I really like the feel of this eclectic little café. There's not much room to get in if there are people standing at the bar. The place is fitted with bits and pieces of comfy furniture; it feels like you're sitting at country kitchen or in the lounge room of your own home. There's a bookshelf with bits and pieces and books on the end wall and on another, money of many denominations boasting a number of international visitors.
A money mural
Something unique to this cafe that I've never seen before is a collection of sketches and poems written by customers. They are proudly pasted onto the wall for all to see. Kate tells me that a gentleman started this and gradually visitors have added to the wall. The drawings are mostly anonymous.
The artists are the customers
This cafe is discrete; you have to go looking for it. It's down the laneway between the Pizza Hut and Fletcher's real estate off the main road. It's on a little street called St Lawrence Street, which only seems to have this one cafe on it.
The Lane café is open for all from 9 AM until 6 PM on Tuesdays and Sundays and 9 AM until late on Wednesdays to Saturday. It is closed on Mondays. It has a license until 1 am. Cocktails are $15.
All the food is house made and they cater for vegans and vegetarians with a gluten free range. They have light meals and snacks like pizza and nachos give and take away. The Lane serves all-day breakfast, lunch and light meals like pumpkin patties and vegetarian lasagna for around $14.50.
If you're into beer they only sell craft beer not generic beer. They have the number one and number two bestsellers in Australia, Hop Hog and Stone and Wood Pacific ale. Apparently they sell really well and there's no artificial colours or flavours. My hot chocolate was delicious, it tasted like marshmallows even before I added them.
No need to add marshmellows
The Lane cafe has a band every first Wednesday of the month. On the sign it says bring your own harps and join in the jam. They also support some local high school music students.
Although the decor is nothing like it, walking into the Lane café reminded me of going to a friend's house where the Italian family would welcome everybody loudly and joyfully and be up for a good chat, a good laugh and a lot of tasty food.
No need to get dressed up. A great place for a casual drink or snack with your mates.