Lunch breaks in the city can be fraught with danger. For every awe-inspiring cafe filled with mouth-watering treats, there are 10 more with doughy focaccias, dry sushi or questionable fried fare. It’s a common theme in the CBD and despite all the fabulous restaurants Melbourne foodies have access to in the evenings, laid-back venues for sandwiches and salads at a reasonable price are few and far between.

Enter Oli & Levi, a cafe at the end of Coromandel Place off Little Collins near Russell, where bright yellow awnings beckon passersby from its all but hidden spot.

The small yet considered menu is a welcome change from some of the area’s overpriced and unappealing dishes. Head chef Sean Muir, formerly of Dandelion in Elwood, has injected a hint of Asian flare, with the hot duck roll a standout come lunchtime.

Owner Lloyd Smith explains: “We wanted to create a simple but yummy menu at honest prices – not like your run-of-the-mill city cafe – where people can eat and enjoy themselves.”

The space itself also reflects this theory, with the industrial-yet-cosy setting providing a relaxed, light-soaked atmosphere. They serve Allpress coffee, and it, as well as the food, is available to take away or eat in.

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Updated: June 17th, 2020

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