Although the colour black is as synonymous with Melbourne as good coffee, chef Sarah Jane Whitfield wanted none of it in her cafe Fourth Chapter. Instead, the cafe is bright, airy and covered in hanging plants.
It’s Sarah Jane’s fourth cafe – she once part-owned Trei in Glen Waverley, and Sardi and Muharam, both in Hawthorn. Her partners at Fourth Chapter are her sister and head chef Jessica Whitfield, and Christian “Kik” Rocchi, a carpenter who came on board while building the cafe.
The menu balances healthy options with a few indulgences. You can get paleo toast with avocado and lemon; or “cacao pops” made with cacao-avocado mousse, coconut yoghurt, caramelised bananas and pear dust. Or you can opt for hotcakes, topped with passionfruit crème; or savoury French toast with eggs and Parmesan.
Drinks include smoothies and kombucha; all the lattes (regular made with Niccolo coffee, plus golden, matcha and chai) with your choice of dairy, soy, coconut or almond milk; and T2 teas. There’s also a Sisko hot chocolate, complete with a gold-flecked, marshmallow-packed chocolate sphere that spins and melts when milk is poured over it.
In warmer weather, Fourth Chapter offers picnic baskets and rugs, so customers can eat in neighbouring Victoria Gardens.