Glen Iris Pantry has always been more than a milk bar. It’s been an icon and mainstay of the south-eastern suburb for more than 35 years. Today, it’s home to two equally impressive venues. By day, it’s a bright, breezy coffee and brunch spot with pan-Asian flourishes called Pantry Glen Iris. By night, it morphs into Too Good Talker, a moody, pan-Asian diner and cocktail bar.

Cafe heavyweight Julien Moussi, the director of Only Hospitality Group (which also founded Bentwood, Clubhouse, Stanley and numerous other cafes around Melbourne) is behind the revamped, two-pronged venue. Moussi grew up in the area, and bought lollies from the milk bar as a kid.

Yet it’s very different from the milk bar he once knew. You might start the day with gingerbread porridge with lemongrass poached pears, matcha-pandan waffles or XO scrambled eggs with crunchy rosti. And for lunch, there might be a hulking Korean fried chicken burger stacked up with slaw and slathered with mayo. Behind the menu is ex-St Cloud chef Franky Pham.

As the sun sets, an ingenious rotating sign on the frontage signals the change in venue, replacing “Pantry Glen Iris” with “Too Good Talker”, illuminated in red neon. Two ex-Lucas Group chefs, John Woo and Allan Hwang, are in charge of the night-time menu, which might feature thick, hand-pulled lamb biang biang noodles; DIY bao buns (choose from sticky beef brisket or miso-glazed eggplant); and flaky roti. Cocktail-wise, the pretty-in-purple Lychee Lavender Collins is a crowd-pleaser, but there’s also the aromatic, gin-spiked Thai Basil Smash and a spicy Marg citrused up with yuzu.

The space easily transitions from day to night, with a suitably two-toned paint job (half rich burgundy, half creamy white) that speaks to the venue’s duality.

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Updated: May 2nd, 2023

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