The Chesterville Road shopping strip in Bentleigh East has been stale for a while. There’s been a longstanding butcher, fruit shop, newsagency and bakery, but no cafe truly serving the locals hungry for more.
“People were totally shocked when we opened up,” says co-owner Tanya Billard, who shares the business with her husband, Stu, and brother Adam Nicholl. “We’re quite different for this area.”
Stu and Tanya were the operational partners at the CBD’s Riverland for 10 years, but after having their first child they needed to shift to a more family-friendly lifestyle. After all, it’s pretty hard to have a baby and run a bar.
Diners will see hints of Middle Eastern, Asian and American flavours sprinkled across the menu.
The winter menu has dishes such as poached eggs with a baba ganoush and walnut labne; a four-grain porridge with carrot juice, ginger and rhubarb; and for lunch, Louisiana-style spiced pulled-pork tacos with caramelised pineapple. A kids menu is also available, aiming to serve an area saturated with schools.
Coffee is by Five Senses, a carryover from Nicholl’s five years at Pillar of Salt. Prana Chai (which is made in Bentleigh) is served alongside an array of smoothies, milkshakes and teas.
The space has been designed by Robson Rak, an architectural and interior-design firm that predominantly does high-end residential projects. Astroluxe is its debut in the hospitality realm.
The 70-seat interior is fitted with blue-tartan banquette seating and custom-made steel lights that enhance the interior’s “gelato-toned” baby pink and light grey walls.
Astroluxe is a win for locals, but also an ideal stop for those on the way to Southland.
303 Chesterville Road, Bentleigh East
(03) 9077 4412
Mon to Sat 7am–4pm