A Thousand Blessings, Richmond

A Thousand Blessings is a cosy cafe in the Richmond area, just off Church Street and easily accessible by tram 78. It's owned by the same people behind the froyo chain 'Frozen by a Thousand Blessings', and prides itself on serving and using organic and local produce.

The cafe has a very homely feel to it, with the use of wooden decor and soft colours. It can seem a little cramped for space at times, but the relaxed atmosphere and overall service of the place makes up for this. Staff were attentive and friendly, and our food didn't take too long to arrive. There was also no wait for a table when we went around 12pm on a Sunday, which was really great.

The Counter, Hawthorn

The Counter is a cosy cafe/bakery in Hawthorn, just opposite Auburn Station on the Belgrave/Lilydale/Alamein lines. The front window is lined with an assortment of baked goods, and there's also an extensive menu of breakfast and lunch dishes, as well as specials of the day.

Upon entering the cafe, it doesn't look very big, as the counter and display takes up about half of the space. However, there's also an outdoor area that expands into quite an open, spacious sitting space, which is great for the warmer weather. The decor in the outdoor/garden area is quite simple, but with lots of plants and wooden benches that makes you feel like you're in your own backyard. Upbeat music plays in the background, and the general atmosphere of the place is lively. We chose to sit outside, and I was quite surprised at the attentiveness of the staff; there was almost always someone in the back area, so we didn't have to wait for ages to get their attention, just because we weren't in the main cafe area.

Kitty Burns, Abbotsford

Kitty Burns is a relatively new cafe in the Abbotsford/Richmond area on Victoria Parade, just opposite Victoria Gardens and easily accessible by trams 12 and 109. The interior design of Kitty Burns is one of the best that I've come across in Melbourne, and made for a really great eating experience. The cafe itself is located in a cluster of new apartments; if you enter through the front where the tram stop is, you'll have to walk to the right and down a bit further past some corporate offices to reach it.

The interior design of Kitty Burns is very sleek, with the use of pastel greens and blues throughout the cafe. The wooden decor and furnishing adds to the aesthetics of the place, as do the tall ceilings and large windows that allow plenty of natural light to pass through. The atmosphere is lively though at times you do have to raise your voice, as there is always so many people. Service was pretty good, and we didn't have to wait too long for a table or our food. The staff were extremely attentive, with multiple staff coming over during our meal to ask how everything was, if they could get us anything else etc.

Einstein's Relative, South Yarra

Einstein's Relative is a small cafe in South Yarra, the next street down from South Yarra station and close to Two Birds One Stone and Adriano Zumbo's patisserie. It's also easily accessible by tram 1/8 and there's plenty of parking on the side streets.

The cafe is quite small and cosy but doesn't feel squashed, and there's also some seating outside as well. There isn't much decoration as the place is so small, but pot plants line parts of the counter to bring some life to the cafe. Service was good for the most part, with friendly staff who came to check how our meal was at times. There was only about a fifteen minute wait for food, though my friend got the additional chicken option to go with her salad dish, which we were both sure we told the staff about, but didn't end up getting in the dish.

Three Monkeys Place, Doncaster East

Three Monkeys Place is a cafe in the Doncaster East shopping district, easily accessible by bus 279. I had actually gone past this shopping district a lot of times and never realised there was a cafe in here, and for the most part was happy with my experience here.

The cafe has quite a lot of seating both inside and out, and there's a shaded area that allows the sunlight to come through. We went on quite a warm day so it did feel quite hot; even though we were sitting in the shaded interior area, it didn't seem like the fan/AC was on. The design of the cafe is quite simple and there's not much decorations on the white painted brick walls, though each table came with flowers which was a nice touch. The service was pretty good, we didn't have to wait too long for our food and the staff were really attentive, however they did tell us they ran out of juices completely as it was such a warm day. There's an interesting range of options at Three Monkeys Place, from burgers to pastas and salad as well as basic breakfast dishes. We went with the Corn Fritters ($17), the Honey Walnut Bresaola Salad ($19) and the Mr Hermit Burger ($20). 

OneFourteen, Mentone

OneFourteen is a restaurant/bar in Mentone just off the Nepean Hwy, about a five minute walk from Mentone Station on the Frankston line. I was lucky enough to be invited by the restaurant for a review and had a really great food experience here.

The restaurant has undergone renovations and now includes an outdoor Beer Garden on top of the indoor seating and function room space. Currently it is only opened on Friday and Saturday nights, and Sundays during the day. The venue is well known for its musical acts, and is a great place for a catch up with some friends after a long week.

We chose to sit in the outside Beer Garden, which is shaded for the most part so even if the weather is bad you could sit outside. There's also heaters along the walls for winter, and there's a couple of pot plants to one side, giving the place a comfortable, backyard sort of feel. The whole atmosphere of the place seems very relaxed and spacious, with plenty of seating.

Norma loves Joe, Balwyn

Norma loves Joe is a small cafe near Balwyn Cinema and the shopping district, easily accessible by tram 109 with plenty of parking on the side streets. I was recommended this place by a friend, for good quality food despite a small menu choice, and was happy with my experience.

The cafe isn't very big, but you don't feel squashed or cramped inside, as the decor and placement of everything gives off a cosy and comfortable vibe. There's seating both inside and out, and people often bring their pets along and sit outside when the weather is good. We didn't have to wait for a table at all, but food took awhile to come - at least 20-25 minutes - even though it was quite empty at the time that we where there.

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