Once an aquarium (the buying fishy pets kind), the building has been converted to a cafe in a residential pocket of Clayfield. Let Minnow has definitely caught on as a spot for the locals, and was well abuzz when we went in on a weekend morning.
It has been quite nicely done up in shades of yellow, white, and grey. There were a few fish puns on the wall and in the menu, and overall it has a modern, relaxed feel.
The waitstaff were prompt and friendly, and let us know early on that you order at the counter, so we weren’t waiting and perplexed that no one was coming to us. It is also a find your own seat and order when ready arrangement, but the staff did help to find space for a larger group that came in later.
There are both breakfast and lunch options on the menu, with a header at the top of each page that says available from 7am to 2pm, so it’s not particularly clear when the changeover from one to the other happens. We were there at sort of the in-between brunch time though, so picked items from each.
After you order, instead of being given a number to take back to your table, you are given a stand with one of the neighbourhood street names. That adds a bit more of a local touch.
See the blackboard as well for frappe and milkshake specials. Options when we were there were lemon merengue or apricot and cream shakes, or a pine lime frappe. None of them quite caught our fancy that day, but other interesting creations must come up. We had other drinks instead, and I can say that the chocolate milkshake with a shot of coffee came out quite well.
After poring over the menu, we settled on one burger special of the day, and the Healthy Minnow.
The burger special was a beef patty with lemon and thyme mushrooms, cheese, and greens (spinach and pea shoots). It was pretty tasty, and definitely saucy (also a bit messy as a result).
The Healthy Minnow was a bit of a disappointing dish when it came out. Toast, spinach leaves, poached eggs, mushrooms, smoked salmon, and smashed avocado sounded good on the menu, but when they were served as just those components placed separately on the plate, with no apparent thought or care in their presentation, it did bring to mind that these were bits one could very well do oneself at home, and $18 for these bits and pieces is somewhat on the steep side (and this was a couple of weeks before the price of avocado skyrocketed). The concept should be known well enough by now, that we eat with our eyes first. As far as presentation went, that would have been an instant send home from Masterchef. To ameliorate that somewhat though, the ingredients went well together when properly combined.
Overall, it was an alright experience, but not amazing or outstanding. Let Minnow is a neighbourhood cafe pitched as a hip urban cafe, but didn’t quite get there on the food or atmosphere front. Unfortunately, the demographic there and the bare wood construct of the place meant that it was noisy and raucous most of the time, and not quite a place for a relaxing meal out.
Price point: $8 (for very basic items like fruit toast) to $22.
Value: Could be better.
Address: 57 Park Ave, Clayfield
Phone: 07 3357 8771
Website: Let Minnow