Napa is a little bit Californian, a little bit nostalgic and a little bit fancy. One of the five owners lived in LA for several years and felt California's relaxed coastal energy and particular blend of cuisines (such as Mexican and Korean) would make a good fit for a Melbourne cafe. Hence dishes such as jalapeno corn fritters, and hot-smoked hickory salmon with dill, fennel and pickled beetroot.
Before coming to Napa, head chef Alex Garratt spent five years cheffing in London. So, in addition to to the American influence, expect to see the occasional nod to Britain (such as a Yorkshire pudding, which makes the odd appearance on the menu). Her decadent rocky-road French toast meanwhile, draws on memories of eating the sweet as a kid in Australia.
S&K Group (Penny Drop, Glen Waverley’s now-closed Workshop Brothers) designed the space, which matches the menu’s Californian theme with reddish-brown tiles and upholstery, textured cream walls, brass pendant lights and blond timber furniture.
The cafe opens late at the end of the week, serving a tight tapas menu and pouring Curatif canned cocktails, a few beers, rosé from Provence, and reds and whites from Australia and California (naturally). Alcohol is also available at lunchtime, alongside Veneziano coffee, Tea Drop teas, smoothies and juices.
An extensive grab-and-go menu also runs throughout the day, featuring house-made pumpkin, kale and feta wholemeal muffins; peanut-butter pretzel bars from Abbotsford bakery Little Bertha; and pastries from Noisette. Substantial salads, fried-chicken wraps, stacked bagels and other takeaway dishes are made to order.
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