The Bell Jar
While it might feel a touch out of place up near the corner of Smith Street and Queens Parade – joining a battery shop and a few garages – The Bell Jar is a quaint little cafe that’s well worth dropping by.
Sit at tables under the canvas awnings out the front or on the wooden box seats lining the window – perfect for sole dining, daydreaming or watching the trams glide past. There is also a large communal table with static square stools and a small courtyard out the back.
The decor is simple and puts practical use to old things with glasses filled with lavender on most tables, Coopers bottles used as water jugs, light shades made of fowler bottles and tin army chairs. Closing in the kitchen is the bar made from old wooden floorboards. A nice selection of cakes and muffins sit on top.
Their Five Senses coffee features Ethiopian, Sumatran, PNG and Guatemalan blends and is hot and strong, while a Calmer Sutra Chai is equally satisfying. Though the kitchen is small, head chef Barbara Panetti (ex Pope Joan) and her friendly staff craft breakfast and lunch options into an extensive, seasonal menu. There are favourites such as porridge with poached rhubarb, toasted almonds, pistachios and organic honey as well as eggs of your choice on sourdough toast with avocado, Meredith goats feta and rocket and beetroot salad.
For lunch, their toasties are encased by Natural Tucker sourdough and you can opt for a meat filling (slow cooked pork shoulder, lemon and tarragon poached chicken, smoked Gypsy ham or bacon) or the vegetarian option (roasted pumpkin, Meredith goats feta, rocket, basil & walnut pesto).