Norma loves Joe, Balwyn

3/13/2016 , , 0 Comments

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.

The menu at Norma loves Joe isn't the most extensive, but there is a good variety of dishes, to cater for those who are after something small or are hungry, sweet, or savoury. The dishes we went with were the Baked Eggs ($17) and the Yankee Burger ($19), and my friends both ordered lattes. The lattes were made with Axil Coffee Bean and really enjoyable as they're one of the most famous coffee brands in Melbourne. The coffee was nice and hot with the perfect amount of froth/milk to coffee, and each latte came with a little inspirational quote on the side, which was really nice.

The baked eggs consisted of two eggs in a spicy tomato sauce with capsicum and feta, and was served with grilled sourdough. Both my friend and I added chorizo to our dish for an extra $4. The eggs were a little overcooked and it would've been nice for them to be a little more runnier, however there was a really enjoyable strong flavour from the tomato and capsicum, and the spiciness came through nicely but wasn't overpowering. The feta gave the dish an extra saltiness, and the chorizo was cooked perfectly; easy to cut into and not too salty at all. There were four slices of sourdough given on the side which I thought was really generous, though they were a bit burnt on the side.

The Yankee Burger consisted of a lean beef patty with swiss cheese, pickled red cabbage, french gherkins, fresh tomato and caramalised onion. It was actually served with crinkle cut chips on the side, which was an unexpected surprise as the menu didn't mention it at all. The beef patty was nice and juicy and there was a perfect amount of sauce on top to balance it out. The caramelised onions gave the burger a sweetness that contrasted nicely with the other elements, and the spinach flavour really came through, though wasn't overpowering at all. The bun surprisingly didn't become soggy even with all the sauce in the burger, which was also great.

A nice little cafe in the Balwyn area that's worth a visit if you're in the vicinity; I'd like to come back again and try some of the other menu items for sure.

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