Next Door Diner has opened up along the almost-starved stretch of St Georges Road Northcote. We say almost because tiny cafe The Breakfast Club is strategically placed next door to Next Door. Kati Bottomley opened The Breakfast Club, with its kitsch ornaments and good coffee, back in 2007 when she couldn’t find a decent cafe in the neighbourhood. She has now extended her desire to put a diner on the strip, joining forces with Emily Pullen, a Breakfast Club regular and former front-of-house manager at St Jude’s, and chef Leilani Wolfenden, who met Pullen while cooking at St Jude’s after spending a few years overseas. Before her trip, Wolfenden worked, amongst other places, at Est Est Est and Ondine in the early 2000s.
The name for the easy-going diner came about when customers would walk into The Breakfast Club and ask, ‘what’s going on next door?’ What was going on was the renovation of the former pharmacy into a space that, despite being quite sparse, is made warm and comfortable using textured finishes. Bare brick walls border the room, which houses timber tables and large lampshades – some hand-painted. The service is relaxed but with the pedigree of its ownership the experience stands out; you’re in safe hands.
The menu focuses on local, seasonal produce where possible and while you can do entree, main and dessert if you want to, you can just as easily share dishes or simply drop by for a cheese plate with a decent glass of wine from the solely Australian list of small boutique wineries.
It’s worth seeking out this northern suburban gem.
Next Door Diner
204 St Georges Road, Northcote
Wed-Sat 5.30pm–11pm, Sun 12pm-11pm