On a quiet strip in Cheltenham beneath a block of apartments, Harry Butler has opened his new cafe, Frank’s. It’s named after his late grandfather, but it’s also about an attitude.
A carpenter by trade, Butler wanted to create a “homely vibe for locals without pretentiousness”.
“Being ‘frank’ is the reason why you’ll feel at home in this cafe. It’s honest and open, simple and direct. That’s why the menu is really simple, stripped of all the buzz words,” he says.
Butler makes sure to get around to each table to introduce himself and have a chat, and staff encourage locals to get to know their barista, chatting over All Press coffee.
Head chef Eli Faye (ex-head pastry chef at Tommy Collins events and ex-head chef at Golden Child in Glen Iris) cooks up a menu with Asian and French influences, in an open kitchen.
The breakfast menu leans heavily vegetarian, with a bunch of vegan, gluten- and dairy-free options. Try the Vegan Scrambled Eggs – scrambled tofu, tomatoes, smoked eggplant purée, spinach pancakes and pepitas – or granola with acai puree, coconut jelly, chai seeds and mango three ways.
The eggs Benedict comes with crispy pork belly, jus, and bubble and squeak. For lunch, there’s a crispy chicken on Asian slaw, soba noodles and edamame beans with a mirin dressing. Frank’s gets its meat from Felice’s Place Gourmet Butcher in Elwood.
Ewert Leaf Design is behind the warm, minimalist fit-out. The studio previously designed Hampton’s Bakery, Standing Room and Hawk & Hunter. There’s a mixture of seating, with long timber communal tables and dark-chocolate leather booth-seating along one side of the space. Customers can also sit at a bar facing the street, with retractable windows giving the sense of being both inside and outside.
“There are thousands of places to buy great coffee in Melbourne, but we want to be that cafe in Cheltenham locals are proud to call their own,” Butler says. “And feel ownership over it, too.”
Mon to Sun 7am-4pm