You know those Tumblr-core pictures of a steamy mug of tea, a book and a perfectly plated pastry set in front of a raindrop-dotted window? That’s what Tori’s feels like.

With a smattering of vintage furnishings, breezy windows overlooking the cobblestone laneway and an assortment of delicately garnished cakes, it’s more like a cottage than a cafe – one right in the middle of the city, on Niagara Lane.

It’s quickly garnered a loyal following, not just for its time-capsule decor but also for its sweets, which are baked on-site daily. Here are four reasons it’s worth checking out.

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It’s like a home away from home
Previous tenant Sun Moth left big shoes to fill when it shuttered in 2019. A cafe by day and bar by night, it was a popular haunt for weary students seeking a post-4pm coffee and in-the-know locals grabbing knock-off natties. But Tori’s has managed to fill the void with style.

The cushy, inviting interior evokes trips to grandma’s (if your grandma was the baking type and had a keen eye for design). Open until 6pm, it’s an easy place to lose a few hours – though it’s almost certain someone will be vying for your seat. “We could fit more tables, but we’re trying to keep it cosy,” says Tori’s manager Ratchakorn (Nahm) Kitcharoen.

Cakes by the slice are the specialty
They’re displayed in the front cabinet and change with the season. Japanese-inspired shortcakes (with fresh strawberries or lychee) are a favourite, though the colourful range of Basque burnt cheesecakes are also a top pick. “The cheesecake is inspired by Korea, but we’ve adjusted it to be our own style,” says Kitcharoen. The Tori’s take is composed of two layers – cheesecake, and a thick topping of cream in flavours like black sesame and tiramisu.

If you want to try a bit of everything, slices can be mixed and matched into an eight-item custom combo cake, while whole cakes can be ordered in advance.

But the garlic brioche is a savoury star
Crowding the counter, you’ll also find platters of madeleines, canelés and other bite-sized treats. Made with matcha or dark chocolate, they’re not overly sweet. But don’t look past the savoury, fluffy garlic brioche, which also takes inspiration from Korea with a distinctly Tori’s twist. “Our chefs are mostly Thai and we have this unique taste,” says Kitcharoen. “We tried to make something that’s strong, creamy and full of flavour.”

The matcha is topnotch
It’s imported from Japan and freshly mixed to order, maintaining its bright-green hue and vegetal notes while toning down its bitterness. Also find hojicha and genmaicha (green tea with puffed brown rice), plus variations subtly scented with strawberry or grape.

28 Niagara Lane, Melbourne

Daily 10am–6pm