Brunch out south of the Yarra
Bentleigh. What used to be an average yellow-brick, two-bedroom house suburb, is following quickly in the footsteps of its older, handsome, well-off (and slightly boring) cousin, Brighton. The yellow bricks and wooden bungalows are being rapidly replaced by double-story townhouses and the question on everyone’s minds seems to be whether you are “in the zone” (i.e. the local high school). Considering the rapid growth in developments and money pouring in from young professional families and skilled migrants, it is surprising that a place like Little Tommy Tucker, which would easily fit Elsternwick, Armadale or even a funkier Prahran had not opened earlier. Either way, they say that good things happen to those who wait, and Little Tommy Tucker is, well, a really really good thing for the people of Bentleigh.
As you approach this institution do not be alarmed by the queue outside. The staff here have a magical ability of finding you a seat, even when it appears impossible. Entering inside you will find modern light wood fit-out, green plants and blue hanging lamps giving the place a contemporary but welcoming feel.
What this place does exceptionally well (and other places of its class tend to forget) is the service. You will be greeted by a smiley and attentive staff member who will look after you and remember you when you return.
The place offers all day breakfast with a daily twist from the changing board. Being a huge tomato addict, the Heirloom Tomatoes, Whipped Goat’s Cheese and Pesto is always a breakfast favourite , and the Banana Pancake Stack , Canadian Maple Syrup, Toasted Coconut and Cinnamon Ricotta are to die for and will keep the little tuckers happy. Lunch is filling and will satisfy big eaters with offering such as Wagyu Burger and Crumbed Organic Chicken Schnitzel.
On the review date, the last Saturday of March, I was tempted by the breakfast special, Cottage Cheese and Pine Mushrooms on Rye Toast with a Poached Egg. The yolk is perfectly runny and light yellow in colour. The pine mushrooms have a rich woody flavour. Admittedly the toast is slightly overcooked, but the rest makes up for this slight imperfection. My better half orders Chilli Scrambled Eggs, which arrive fluffy on two pieces of sourdough toast with touches of chilli and fresh herbs . Sometimes cafes overdo the cream in the eggs, but the portion and consistency in Little Tommy Tucker’s is just perfect. We also note the spotless kitchen (they are welcome to come clean my kitchen like that any day) and efficient yet calm kitchen staff.
The Cafe is very family friendly and you will find it is often filled with babies and toddlers with the latest brand of three wheeled strollers parked at the front. It offers three wooden tables outside on the Centre Road frontage for those of us who like to share our meals with our four-legged friends.
Food: 9 out of 10
Atmosphere: 8 out of 10
Staff: 10 out of 10
Best for: local convenience, family get together, new parents with bubs.
Find it at: 432 Centre Road Bentleigh. Catch a train to Bentleigh on the Frankston line or enjoy the ample of off-street parking.