White-chocolate-and-matcha cake one day; peanut-butter-cookie sandwiches the next. There is also vanilla sponge, blueberries and crushed pistachios; tiramisu cupcakes; and brownie cookies. Everyday Canteen has quite the display cabinet.
Originally the owners, husband-and-wife team Jiah and Jamie Min, wanted to open a bakery. But after Jamie’s 10 years at Melbourne’s Little Cupcakes, they changed tack. “We decided to do something a little different, canteen style,” says Jiah Min.
They found an old pharmacy in Artarmon, and with help from architecture firm Ewert Leaf, they’ve turned it into a bright, open cafe. They’ve kept the full-glass façade but gutted the interior to install white tiling, Scandinavian furniture, fern-filled pots and a long wooden counter. “It was really dark in here before,” says Min. “I wanted something warm, welcoming and natural in colour.”
The cakes are the big deal here. The sponges are soft but not dry; the brownies are dense and rich; and the cookies melt on your tongue. “We bake all our cakes on-site and we constantly change all the flavours,” says Min. Although if they have customer requests they’ll bring any particular type back, she says. Most of the rest of the menu is designed so you can still fit in cake; many dishes are light, delicately flavoured and healthy.
The Korean spicy-pork burger with red cabbage, Swiss cheese and aioli; and the pork-crackling salad are the heaviest items on the menu. The brunch board, with grilled mushrooms, poached eggs, ricotta, a bowl of mixed granola-muesli and an OJ, is like an entire hotel buffet in one dish. Some of the menu is by Jiah and Jamie’s friend, Brandon Chin of Melbourne’s Breakfast Thieves. As well as creating their opening menu, Chin will return to add more menu input in coming months.
11 Elizabeth Street, Artarmon
Mon to Fri 7am–4pm