The logo at Darling Cafe is an O atop an X. You’ll see the hug and kiss symbol on the coffee cups, on the menus and on fluorescent signage beside the sandwich and treat cabinet. You can even buy it in badge form to take home.
If you squint the logo could be a skull and cross bones, but that’s as close to grunge as this cafe gets. This is South Yarra, after all. The bright fit-out, surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows, showcases a white Calcutta marble benchtop as you walk in, and fresh flowers top every table.
The menu is colourful at every turn – there are at least four breakfasts that could be confused with desserts, including sticky date pancakes with butterscotch ice-cream, and a cookies and cream panna cotta. Other dishes are rich with natural colours, such as a kale salad with broccolini, pumpkin and toasted almonds.
The smoothie selection is impressive too, and our pick is the Thomas Edison – a mango, guava and strawberry blend, served in an Instagram-friendly lightbulb with straw. Darling is also licensed and serves Mimosas, Bloody Marys and Espresso Martinis.