Richard Donovan and Craig Tate have been best friends since they were 10 years old. Growing up in Newcastle, England, neither foresaw one day owning a cafe together on the other side of the world. Of the two Donovan was the first to arrive in Australia; he was a typical Brit backpacker working in hospitality to pay for his trip. Craig followed a year later, and both never left.

Partnering with Phil Gijbergs (of From on High in Prahran), they opened Saint James cafe on Malvern Road with a British-inspired menu.

A mixed-grain porridge is topped with London Dry Gin-poached rhubarb. Bubble and squeak gets a Melbourne upgrade with the addition of a browned-butter hollandaise, a roasted tomato and a fried egg.

The dish to receive the biggest response so far is the fish-finger butty served with crushed-pea aioli and dill-and-cabbage salad on white bread. “It’s a childhood memory, I used to eat them all the time,” says Donovan.

Coffee is roasted at Gijsbers’s new cafe in Collingwood, Yorkshire Brew House, which opened earlier this week. Gijsbers is also opening Small Print Pizza Bar, four doors down from From on High, and a cafe in Brooklyn, New York.

Plans to extend the 30-seat courtyard into a summer beer garden are underway, and in the coming months a liquor license will kick in.

Saint James
1376 Malvern Road, Malvern
(03) 9078 8150

Mon to Fri 7am–4pm
Sat & Sun 8am–4pm