The team at Small Victories fit so well in the sleepy, leaf-lined North Carlton strip of Rathdowne Street, it's as if they had always been there. Owners Ben Farrant and Alric Hansen had spent years working in a slew of quality operations (Farrant at Gills Diner and Hansen at The Crimean) before opening Small Victories in 2012.
The black pudding sausage with pickled walnut and roast apple mayonnaise and the coconut and oil agave syrup granola with elderflower, poached rhubarb, lychee, organic yoghurt and berry powder are definitely the standouts on a menu that is full of highlights. Hansen is committed to producing as much as he can in-house and keeping outsourcing to a minimum – even making yoghurt and smoked goods onsite.
On the drinks side, Wide Open Road is the bean of choice; perfectly extracted and delicious every time. For beer drinkers, there’s Croucher Pale Ale on tap and Boatrocker Hoppbier and Harviestoun ‘Mr Sno'balls’ in the bottles. A concise wine list has mostly local selections.
Larger inside than would appear from the street, the meticulous space is sparse, but still welcoming. The fit-out is simple and elegant, with gorgeous timber throughout and a marble bar/counter that runs down the centre of the front room. A quasi-mezzanine level up a few stairs offers a few more seats but, of course, the prize spots are out the front amidst the sleepy leaf-filled trees.
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