p the far end of High Street, where Thornbury segues into lower Preston, there is a cafe newcomer that is livening up this previously barren strip (worthy neighbours Lowlands and Umberto not withstanding). Follow the painted silhouettes of children decorating the outside of the big corner building at the Dundas Street intersection and introduce yourself to Little Henri.
Bright and airy, Little Henri is a big space that’s been utilised well. The dark wooden chairs and tables are comfy, the decorations minimal yet stylish (the floral arrangement on the central communal table is particularly eye-catching) and there’s a courtyard perfect for lazing in, which sparks promising thoughts for the coming summer months.
There are plenty of breakfast options, starting with a brioche bun filled with bacon, egg, machengo and tomato kasundi and ending with the currant French toast with candied walnuts and drunken oranges.
Baguettes and paninis definitely seem to be the lunching go. Have yourself a baguette stuffed with pork belly, cabbage and fennel slaw and quince aioli, or the slow roasted lamb panini with crushed peas, feta, mint and more tomato kasundi. Or if you’re looking for something heartier, which forgoes bread, try the corn, pea and bacon hash with chorizo, eggplant pickle and a poached egg perched on top. Do not be fooled by menu notes that promise small-portioned dishes – everything is generously plated here.
Little Henri has cunningly devised a varied menu that taps neatly into a multifaceted local community. During our visit, fellow diners included everyone from tiny Italian grandmothers, construction workers seeking lattes for smoko, groups of mothers gossiping while rocking strollers and plenty of other curious locals checking out the new addition to the neighbourhood.
We recommend you get your curiosity on too. Order yourself an Allpress latte to go with your baguette, sit back and let Little Henri surprise you.
848 High Street, Thornbury
(03) 9484 8857
Mon to Sun 8am–4pm