The space that formerly housed burger joint Big Huey’s Diner – run by Australia’s king of suspenders Iain ''Huey'' Hewitson – has taken a turn since Neale White, chef-owner of Papa Goose and Annabel McKay (who helped set up George Calombaris’s Jimmy Grants), moved in in March this year.
My Son, Joy is a spacious 100-seat daytime-only diner (McKay and White were both sick of the late-night hospitality life), located opposite South Melbourne Market. Unlike its predecessor, there aren't any burgers on the menu.
“Good fats, nutrient-dense, good produce and no carbs. I’ve been eating this way for a year and I have more energy,” White says, and the menu reflects that with plenty of high-protein, low-carb options.
McKay and White enlisted the help of White’s nutritionist partner when conceiving the menu, which is focused on contemporary British-style food.
White got his start in 1990s London, cooking at restaurants such as Gordon Ramsay’s Aubergine.
Mains include a Flinders Island lamb that’s braised for three hours and served with carrots, peas, mint, wild rice and salsa verde. A Tasmanian ox fillet tartare comes with charred brussel sprout leaves, fermented radish, crispy chicken skin and White’s own horseradish mayonnaise, which he makes with Kalaparee olive oil and eggs from Kiss & Run farm, north of Bendigo.
“Mayonnaise is actually good for you,” says White. “It’s an emulsion, which is easy for the body to digest.”
The all-day breakfast menu includes dishes such as house-made chargrilled sourdough, avocado, fermented daikon and mixed herbs, and soft-boiled eggs with grilled asparagus and Grana Padano, mayonnaise, spring onions and goat’s cheese.
On the drinks list you’ll find pressed juices and smoothies, as well a Victorian-only wine list, and several Australian gins.
And there are some carbs – White bakes croissants and a slow-fermented house sourdough, made with his 18-year-old sourdough starter.
As for the name, "it's a bit of a parental love thing,” White says. His parents call him “my son” and McKay’s call her Joy.
My Son, Joy
315 Coventry Street, South Melbourne
(03) 9690 2221
Wed to Fri 7.30am–3pm
Sat to Sun 7.30am–4pm