In 1999, Melly Beilby and Gabby Isaakson set up Spoonful. It was originally intended as a catering business, but as they looked around the double storey Victorian building in High Street Prahran, they found it was big enough to accommodate a café as well. And so, starting with a large communal table, Spoonful was born, where Melly and Gabby served food drawn from their shared interest in seasonal produce. With a menu that constantly changed, Spoonful was quickly discovered by the locals and soon became a popular breakfast and lunch destination.
In 2003, Melly took over the business and by 2005 had added Spoonful’s baby sister cafe, Teaspoon, next door. Teaspoon was simply a response to the high demand for take-away lunches and coffees but soon became more than just that. Today, Teaspoon is home to all kinds of culinary treasures: imported cooking ingredients, cheeses, wine, fresh bread, exotic-looking lollies and sweets, stylish aprons, pretty plates and platters, just to name a few.
In 2009 a shop became available in Morey Street, Armadale, a few doors up from Market Import, an iconic Mexican homewares and giftware shop started by Barbara Kenny in a heritage-listed Victorian building complex. Here, Melly created Sardine, a pint-sized cafe where coloured tin tables spill out into the street, adding to the quaint and worldly atmosphere that abounds in Morey Street. Sardine, now run by Melly’s son Piers, is nice spot for breakfast or lunch following a spot of shopping nearby, and is now open late on Thursday and Friday nights for a drink and some tapas.
However, it seemed luck had not yet run out. In 2010, another store became available just next door to Sardine. This time, it was not food Melly had in mind. Though she had often used Teaspoon to exhibit an eclectic mix of homewares, Melly found she was coming across more and more great things to fill a retail store. So she teamed up with her cousin, Lucy Mora, and together they created HUT 13, a colourful store that reflects the style of both women.
HUT 13 offers a carefully edited selection of jewellery, soft furnishings, prints, glassware and artist-made objects. Melly and Lucy felt that Melbourne needed a homewares store that wasn’t filled with things that you see everywhere else. Lucy was also desperate to find a homewares store selling things that were “not beige”. And so, HUT 13 was born. Despite only being a few months old, HUT 13 is quickly proving a welcome addition to the ever-expanding Spoonful brand.
Running four businesses is certainly no mean feat, which has seen Spoonful and its offshoots become quite the family affair.