Sitting alone and proud on a side street in the industrial side of Port Melbourne is Punchbowl Canteen. This leafy, somewhat industrial neighborhood is so close to the city grid but somehow feels like another town. A place where it’s OK to sleep in until 10AM, head out for a late brunch and have a few cheeky Bloody Mary’s between coffees. My plus one and I arrived on a sunny Sunday afternoon to find the friendly staff joking between each other – it seems like a happy place to be.
Opening next door to the fantastic Uncle Rocco’s Barbershop only a short while ago, Punchbowl Canteen is a great new café. Local residents and workers have already discovered this foodie haven ripe for a brunch expedition.
Housed in the former home of the Red Tulip Easter Egg factory, Punchbowl features large lofty ceilings and ten-foot high colorful wall art from illustrator Leah Bartholomew.
Head chef Elizabeth Milroy has crafted a menu that features interesting twists on classic dishes. Local produce is a key focus for Punchbowl with the menu proudly listing their key suppliers.
We were pleasantly surprised to find the Australian breakfast staple vegemite paired with some tasty Welsh rarebit, cheese and leek on toast. Other dishes of note include the Earl Grey tea-smoked trout, a slow cooked beef cheek burger with just the right amount of cheese and fish cake scotch egg with radish and pear.
A wood-fired oven sits at the entrance to slow-cook meats for the kitchen as well as tasty pastries to grab and go. Vegan smoothies, freshly made juices and some interesting thick shakes (loaded with lots of ice cream) round out the menu nicely. The Gingerbread thick shake was defiantly a keeper. Fitzroy coffee roaster, Industry Beans are supplying the caffeine.
Outdoor seating is under a lovely big, 100 year old tree and there is plenty of on street parking making this an easy destination café for families and food adventurers like us. We love that Port Melbourne is punching above its weight with excellent destination cafes like this.
Tomas Zagoda is a filmmaker, writer, coffee addict and tall person who does not play basketball. You can follow him @TomasZagoda.
Punchbowl Canteen is open 7 days a week for breakfast and lunch. There is plenty of on street parking and the venue is accessible.