While new-wave cafes and specialty coffee continue to tighten their grip on the inner city, Jason M Jones is looking outward.
“I think there’s a saturation of great cafes and operators within a five-kilometre radius of the city,” Jones says. “Being a country boy, I love the leafy, outer suburbs – and the options are not so great in the far-north-eastern burbs,” or what he affectionately calls “the sticks”.
Jones (who only just launched Entrecote City less than three weeks ago) has just opened his next venture, Second Home, a cafe in Eltham.
“There are birds whistling out here, there are gum trees surrounding the property. People are more relaxed, the vibe is slower.”
The cafe is housed in a renovated 1973 building originally designed by Alistair Knox, a renowned builder and self-taught architect. Throughout its life, it has been an industrial-light factory, then an antique bric-a-brac shop, and most recently, an art gallery.
“The building is just so beautiful and the bones are so simple that we’ve just added items and pieces to complement the architecture, Jones says. “The light that comes in through the skylight windows, and the tips of the gum trees frame the space. You would swear you’re in the country.”
The menu is recognisably Jones: the comforting triple-cheese toast has appeared in various forms at his previous cafes, as has his “famous” herby, golden folded eggs. Also familiar – the chatty tone of the menu, like he’s sharing a joke with you. See “The Obligatory ‘Smashed Avocado’” or the garlic bread with “tonnes of butter”.
There’s a fairly big breakfast and lunch menu (on weekends, flip over to see the “libations trolley” for all your daytime boozing needs), featuring some great Victorian producers, including Kinross farm-free eggs, Hopkins River Beef and the intriguing “Thomas, our main mushie man”.
The space (with an interior designed by Jones’ partner, Brahman Perera) will also host an art gallery with bi-monthly exhibitions, the first exhibition showcasing Melbourne artist, Chris Penning.
21 Brougham Street, Eltham
Mon to Fri 8am–4pm
Sat & Sun 8am–4pm