Two years ago, Elizabeth Ahearn and her husband Mark opened Little h in Duncraig after seeing a need in their local area. A loyal following and multiple Gold Plates later and the couple are ready to spread their wings with cafe number two. Enter The Little Bay, a coastal cafe overlooking the ocean at Watermans Bay.
“We never thought it would be as busy as it is,” says Elizabeth of Little h’s success. “I anticipated a little coffee shop with a few sandwiches and a tiny glass cabinet. It just exploded. People were telling us what they wanted and I didn’t want them going anywhere else. I see it as a little monster in terms of how it’s evolved.”
The Little Bay occupies the space left by Chinese restaurant Bay 33, and the Ahearns have substantially overhauled the interior.
“It’s gone through quite a few little renos by the looks of it, so we’ve had to pull it right back to its bones and start fresh,” says Elizabeth. “We’d knock down a wall and there’d be another wall. We’d pull up flooring and there’d be tiles underneath. We really wanted to brighten it up, make it feel fresh and a bit homely at the same time.”
The breakfast and lunch menus will be reminiscent of Little h, but with a step up: think eye-fillet steak, egg and chips in place of a standard "big breakfast". Diners can expect a few Instagram-friendly dishes, similar to the red velvet pancakes popular at Little h.
“We’ve got so many different demographics that walk and drive past,” says Elizabeth. “We need to appeal to the people who come every day for basic eggs on toast, but also those who come once a year for a special occasion.”
Adjoining the cafe is an already-operational takeaway coffee and bakery-item window. Like its sibling, The Little Bay will serve coffee from Melbourne roaster Locale.
The Little Bay has a full restaurant licence, meaning that breakfast and lunch cocktails are on the menu alongside beer, wine and spirits. Dinner plans are already in the pipeline.
“We’d love to do sundowners on Friday and Saturday nights,” says Elizabeth. “I think in summer we’ll offer tapas and spritz or something along those lines.”
The Little Bay opens on Saturday December 1.
The Little Bay
33 West Coast Drive, Watermans Bay
(Coffee window 6am–2pm)