Old Man Drew
Ascot Vale’s Old Man Drew has so many hidden nooks you might feel like you’re the only one there. Grab a spot in the dog-friendly garden for homemade beef pies, fried chicken brioche sandwiches, and salted-caramel crumpets.
Old Man Drew is a whimsical cafe with old-world charm. And beyond its grand old green and ivory façade, it feels like a labyrinth. The clashing, contrasting decor of the eatery’s six very different spaces is an amalgamation of family heirlooms and community contributions.
On ground level, exposed-brick walls, hanging plants and timber furniture surround a staircase, which leads to the underground cellar. Its bluestone dining room is cosy, fitted with an old leather chesterfield couch, gas fireplace and a Queen of Hearts-inspired chessboard.
Back above ground, check out the provedore. It stocks a selection of jams, olive oils, chocolates and other bits and pieces.
Step through another walkway and into the light-flooded atrium, where the adjacent kitchen pumps out reliable brunch fare such as hash browns with haloumi, eggs and aioli; homemade beef pies and smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels. On the sweeter side, there’s toasted crumpets with caramelised banana, oozy salted caramel, vanilla mascarpone, candied nuts and sticky caramel popcorn.
Past the kitchen is a dog-friendly garden, where vegetable plants call a rusty 1940 Bedford truck home. It’s filled with mismatched wrought-iron tables and chairs. Which sit around a weeping tree adorned with fairy lights.
Miss Violet’s Tea Rooms – which is accessible via its own staircase – is the final room. It hosts high tea every week on Saturday and Sundays at 1pm. It’s also available to book out for functions.