Nick Pinn and Laurie Rogencamp are no strangers to the food and beverage business. They’re the duo behind Malt Dining, Newstead’s Malt Pier and the Malt Traders bottle shops. So when a space unexpectedly opened up on Sandgate Road beside Vaquero Dining, the pair’s bustling Spanish-inspired restaurant and bar, they seized the opportunity.

Two doors up from brunch stalwarts Artie & Mai and straight across the road from the immensely popular Brewbakers, On the Side (subtitled, “Presented by Vaquero”) offers the best of both worlds. By day, the place brews coffee from Melbourne roaster Locale with a simple breakfast menu, housemade savoury tarts and a selection of sweets courtesy of Ascot bakery Vanilla Pod. In the next fortnight, On the Side will open for evening grazing with drinks and a simple bar menu.

“Our original aim was to turn it into a small bar in the evenings,” says Pinn, “but we saw real potential for the morning trade. The local community is really excited about having another small coffee offering in the area.”

In a refurbished corner block on Sandgate Road, formerly home to Xavi’s Espresso, the cosy 35-seater’s darkened interior and bi-fold windows lend a relaxed vibe. Pinn says this is reflected in the food and drink.

In the morning Albion locals might find slow-cooked eggs with prosciutto, croque monsieur, or ham and cheese croissants. By night, the venue will switch to boutique beers on tap, a small selection of bottled brews, a short wine list and some classic cocktails. A simple bar menu will include charcuterie shaved to order from the neighbouring Albion Butchery – also a Pinn and Rogencamp venture.

On the Side
8a/344 Sandgate Rd, Albion
No phone

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Mon to Fri 6.30am–2pm (Weekend breakfasts and nightly bar service to begin in the coming weeks)