To reach John Scardamaglia’s new cafe in Templestowe, you’ll drive through the undulating hills of Melbourne’s northeast – “a beautiful part of the world”, he says .

Down the Rabbit Hole, which Scardamaglia co-owns with his wife and brother, is located across from a narrow stretch of eucalypts. The gums are the inspiration for the interior fit-out, handled by Melbourne-based studio Zwei.

“We have tried to bring the outside in,” Scardamaglia says. “The site used to be a Pizza Hut and not very inviting – the girls from Zwei have really brightened everything up and made it a lot more lively.”

Timber battens line the walls in an abstract homage to the trees outside.

“We opened both Berth and Cargo in the Docklands over 10 years ago when open kitchens weren’t the ‘in thing’,” Scardamaglia says. “Everyone wanted to hide chefs back then.”

“But nowadays … people love the energy of an open kitchen, so we’ve incorporated one – it adds a really nice energy to the space.”

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As for the food, there are no subheadings for breakfast or lunch on the menu. “You should be able to eat whatever you want, whenever you want,” Scardamaglia says. “If you feel like eggs or granola at 3pm, that’s fine. Steak sandwich for breakfast? All good.”

Calamari bao with Asian slaw is a bestseller, as is the breakfast board with a bacon- and egg-filled mini-bagel, acai granola and petite, spherical doughnuts drizzled in jam – made with cut outs from one of the cafe’s other bestsellers: bronuts. That is, brioche doughnuts.

“We sell about 200 a day on the weekends,” Scardamaglia says.

Down the Rabbit Hole
8/22 Newmans Road, Templestowe
(03) 9846 8446

Mon to Sun 7am–4pm