Which means it’s entirely possible to eat well and drink well in a place that also caters for kids.
Square and Compass stands alone on Clarendon Street inside a red brick terrace house, surrounded by residences, offices, health services and hospital blocks. Since its opening it’s been a drawcard for East Melbourne locals and workers bereft of good eateries at the northern end of Fitzroy Gardens.
The cafe is bright and welcoming and at 8am on a Sunday it’s already filling up with young families. There’s space for prams and numerous high chairs available. It’s too cold to hang out at the chic courtyard at the back but come summer I’m sure it’ll be popular with kids.
The all day menu includes cafe standards with a twist and over several visits I’ve tried…
… the five grain porridge, with a ribbon of sweet apple puree creaminess punctuated by a crunchy crumble. It’s sort of like mixing an apple pie into your oats! However, I’d prefer fresh fruit to dehydrated fruit – stretchy, leathery dried fruit has never been my thing. ($13.50).
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…the waffles, a gorgeous berry and flower-strewn palette atop some fluffy waffles. I like the addition of brandy snaps jutting out of the vanilla-flecked cream ($16.50).
…peanut butter, heirloom tomatoes and toasted peanuts on toast ($13). The combination sounds weird but the menu says ‘trust us’ – so I do. It does work surprisingly well. The peanut butter is not particularly sweet and the savoury nuttiness balances out the tangy juicy tomatoes. I’m surprised it’s not on more cafe menus because now I’ve tried it once it seems like an entirely appropriate sandwich combination.
The service is friendly at Square and Compass and they are used to having little people around. It makes a great pit stop if you’re heading to Fitzroy Gardens and if you want to take away a picnic I highly recommend their gourmet rolls, particularly the pork belly with crackling (all $10), and maybe grab a decadent Doughboys Doughnuts as well.
- Pram access;
- Numerous high chairs;
- Standard menu suitable for kids;
- disabled toilet which fits a pram; and
- free parking on Clarendon Street at certain times.