We were in Tarragindi running errands, and the Esher St Café and Deli came up as a recommended suburban eatery. In a short row with a couple of other shops, it doesn’t particularly jump out at you, but a couple of other A-frames and signs on nearby roads point you in its direction.
We walked up the entrance steps, and were greeted soon after we stepped through the door. One of the waitstaff, glancing up from behind the coffee machine, asked if it was our first time there, then explained that it was counter service. We picked up menus from a little box at the service counter, and found ourselves seats.
There are a few tables (perhaps five) indoors, a few at the front of the café, and more seating in a covered area out at the back. It being a hot day (at least 30 degrees), we chose to be in the air-conditioned inside. It has eclectic décor, with an assortment of trinkets on the shelves. Overhead are lights threaded along a ladder. With its dark blue walls and ceiling and dark floorboards, it is quite the opposite of the currently popular Nordic styling. Still, it manages to avoid being dingy or oppressive. Folk and indie pop music were playing in the background at a comfortable volume, and overall the place had a pleasantly laidback feel.
The menu has a couple of pages of breakfast options, and one page of lunch items. We narrowed it down to the Esher Street breakfast, and the Green eggs. We placed our orders at the counter, and were given a wooden table number to take back to our table.
Our coffees were brought out in just a few minutes, and nicely chilled water soon followed.
The flat white was well flavoured and textured.
The soy iced latte was again nicely cold, served in a tall milk bottle. It had a good strong flavour, roasted but not bitter.
The Green Eggs were listed as having poached eggs, asparagus, roasted cherry tomatoes, haloumi, salsa verde, and organic sourdough. There was the option to add avocado, which we did. The asparagus was cooked so that it still had a little crunchy texture. The cherry tomatoes were cooked down so that they were just reduced, still retaining their juice, so they didn’t have the crunchy burst of fresh cherry tomatoes, but weren’t mushy pulp either. The salsa verde was tangy and herby, but there wasn’t quite enough to make all of the eggs green when mixed in, or to distribute onto all the other ingredients. The toast slices were thick and buttery, with a crunchy crust and a soft middle. They didn’t have the denser chew we expected from sourdough though. There used to be a café in Melbourne’s St Kilda that served a dish called Green Eggs and Ham. The eggs were vibrantly green, and the dish was herby and aromatic. This dish, however, wasn’t quite as flavourful.
The Esher St Breakfast was listed as having poached eggs, bacon, potato apple rosti, grilled local haloumi, relish, and organic sourdough. The rosti was a little browned on the outside, and we anticipated crunch, but it turned out to not be so. The shredded apple and other components on the inside were squishy and a little bland. The relish on the top of it helped though. The haloumi was nicely cooked, almost melty in the middle so that it was quite supple, and not rubbery at all. The eggs were nicely poached, with runny yolks. The buttery toast again provided a nice base, but again didn’t have the texture or density we expected.
Service was alright, with most staff cheerful and friendly, but also a couple who were sullen and unsmiling.
The main downsides to our dining experience were the relatively small plates for the food, which meant that ingredients were inadvertently pushed off the side a number of times as we were trying to cut food up, and the flies buzzing around determinedly attacking our food. The latter is not an uncommon problem in the Australian summer, but a flyscreen at the doors might have decreased the number a touch.
Overall, the Esher St Café and Deli makes for a good neighbourhood local stop. The coffees were good. The food was alright, not fancy but pretty tasty. It’s a nice little casual space. It has been around for a while, and will likely continue to be.
Price point: Breakfast items$14.90 to $22.90. Lunch items $13.90 to $18.90.
Value: Alright. Portions were quite generous.
Address: 46 Esher St, Tarragindi
Phone: (07) 3397 4083
Website: Esher St Cafe and Deli