Short Straw, Hawthorn

Hidden in a side street off Glenferrie Road, Short Straw is a busy cafe in the Hawthorn area that prides itself on both innovative dishes and old favourites, and a range of light snacks. Easily accessible by tram 16 and close to Glenferrie Station, the cafe has fast become a favourite in the area.

I was surprised at how spacious the interior of Short Straw was - from the exterior, you wouldn't expect such a large space. There's two main areas of seating; one of which is in a slightly elevated area that has light streaming in from above as well as the windows to one side, as well as outdoor seating for small groups. The designs on the walls is minimalistic, with the white walls contrasting with the plants and wooden chairs (yes chairs!) hanging from the ceiling. Upbeat old school music from the 90s played in the background, which is a nice throwback.

Touchwood, Richmond

Located on Bridge Road about a 10 minute walk from the outlets/retail stores, Touchwood is a large cafe with a great range of breakfast and lunch, sweet and savoury options as well as a display cabinet of small goodies. The cafe is easily accessible by trams 48 or 75, and there's plenty of parking on the side streets.

From the exterior, you wouldn't expect the cafe to be so spacious, but upon entering it feels like it never ends! Despite it being quite busy when we went, it never felt hectic or cramped; rather, everything is spaced out nicely and the open space allows for normal conversations to flow without having to really raise your voice. The high ceilings with the simple earthy designs and plants made for a comfortable atmosphere. We waited about 15 minutes for a table on a Sunday, and for the most part, the staff were attentive during our meals.

Hawthorn Common, Hawthorn

Hawthorn Common is a popular cafe located in the Glenferrie Road shopping/eating precinct, a short walk from Glenferrie Station and easily accessible by tram 16. The restaurant is located on the second floor with a balcony/terrace area, and as well as breakfast/lunch dining, is available for catering and hosting functions.

The interior of the cafe was a lot larger than I expected, with a very open, bright space partially due to the floor to ceiling windows in place. The use of white and pale wooden throughout the cafe contrasted with the vibrant green plants to give a comfortable, summery aesthetic. The atmosphere was very lively, busy with crowds of people, but not loud enough that you had to raise your voice to speak to each other.

Bawa Cafe, Hawthorn

Located in the heart of Hawthorn, Bawa Cafe is situated near a couple of eateries just off Glenferrie Road. Opened by the owners of Dukes Coffee Roasters, the cafe is easily accessible by tram 16 or the Belgrave/Lilydale line.

Large windows occupy most of the cafe to allow plenty of natural light to enter, and plants hang from the tall ceilings to give it a spacious, open feel. There was about a 10 minute wait for a table on a Sunday when we went, and our food came in about 20 minutes. As it was quite packed when we went, it did feel quite noisy, and together with the loud music made us feel like we had to raise our voices slightly to hear each other.

Ora Specialty Coffee, Kew

Ora Specialty Coffee is a cosy and small cafe located in Kew that prides itself on premium coffee and seasonal produce. The cafe is easily accessible by a number of buses, and there's also plenty of parking on the street that it's located on.

The cafe itself has quite simple decor; the only decorations are the black and white photos in simple black frames that cover two of the white walls. Light streams in from the large windows at the front of the cafe, and upbeat music plays softly in the background. The staff were friendly and attentive, and there wasn't too long of a wait for our food.

Urban Projuice, Albert Park

Urban Projuice is a wholefoods cafe and juice bar in Albert Park, easily accessible by tram 1 or 96. The cafe prides itself on sourcing food locally grown, seasonal and healthy, and are a completely meat-free, fair trade and organic cafe.

A cute terrace setting with outdoor seating both in the front and back at the courtyard, Urban Projuice is a brightly lit cafe with pale wooden and white decor, contrasting with the artwork and vibrant plants to give the whole place a comfortable and modern feel. We went around 12pm on a Sunday and were lucky enough to not have to wait at all for a table. The staff were very friendly, however we had to wait over 15 minutes to grab their attention when we wanted to order, and there was about a 20 minute wait for the food itself.

Mister + Miss, Surrey Hills

Mister + Miss is a relatively new cafe in Surrey Hills, easily accessible by tram 109 and a fifteen minute walk from Mont Albert Station.

The cafe is a lot more spacious than I expected, with ample seating outside, both in the front and the back of the cafe. The tables are quite close together, but not to the point of making it feel squished or too close to the people at the next table. The decor is very simple, with a brick wall aligning one side and mesh decorations hanging from the ceiling. We went around 11am on a Saturday and luckily didn't have to wait at all for a table. The staff were attentive despite how busy it was when we were there, and there wasn't too long of a wait for our food.

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