When looking for a location for Ampersand, proprietor Liam Wilson (previously of Chew burgers and Little Henri), says he was drawn to the community vibe of the Thornbury food strip.

Considering the building used to be a juice bar called Juicy Bits and was bright pink on the inside, the space has gone through quite a transformation, with seven layers of paint on the ceiling and loving redecoration going into the light, open space. The front room’s walls are covered in art, some of which is made by Wilson himself. Those who head to cafes to work will find the ample power points convenient.

The back room is more intimate, with black walls, a mantle piece, candles and a mock deer’s head. Out back, a courtyard has blankets at the ready to keep your knees warm.

The menu caters well to vegetarians and vegans, but if you’re neither, opt for one of the three steak sandwiches, which come with sweet-potato crisps with paprika seasoning. These crisps are a favourite among regulars.

The menu has a South American twist thanks to the chefs’ Chilean heritage, and includes a comprehensive drinks list with fresh juices, smoothies and Padre coffee.

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Updated: May 24th, 2018

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