Lately, I have found myself in the bustling and growing suburb of Thornbury.
You may have seen my Welcome to Thornbury post – but that’s not the only hip thing there. Arrive on a weekend and you’ll find multiple busy cafes down High St and you just won’t know what to choose.
Ampers&: 863 High St, ThornburyOne day I thought I would walk up to Brother Alec, a place I know makes excellent coffee, but noticed a cool interior along the way. Maybe I’d never walked past Ampersand because it’s at the very beginning of High St, so it was just my luck. The white interior drew me in and the signs indicating they use Padre Coffee – it might just be my second favourite blend.
I went in to get an iced coffee as it was a warm day – much to my surprise it wasn’t your standard coffee in a plastic cup. It had an iced-coffee block in it, making the coffee quite photogenic. It was delicious, but if you are a milky-coffee fan the iced blocks make it a bit bitter towards the end.
I thought I’d give the brunch a go on another occasion. The menu is succinct and simple, nothing outrageous to be found. I went with the pumpkin and quinoa fritters (around $16 with egg) ,which were enjoyable, but the serving was small and the egg not properly poached. I did still enjoy the coffee.
Kustom Burgers: 861 High St, Thornbury
Kustom Burgers is a little burger takeaway shop on High St, right next to Ampers&. It does have a few seats, two tables and some seats along the counter. You can also sit outside – I do feel the car race track takes up a bit of room but is a nice addition!
Unlike some places, the burger menu is a bit more extensive here. It also gives you more options – different buns, extra sides, chicken wings, sauces…it took us a while to decide how much to order!
I ended up with a Southern Fried Buttermilk Chicken Burger ($14). With jalapenos and chipotle mayo, it was a little spicy but not overly so. It smelt delicious but the composition made it even more vulnerable to falling apart than a usual burger. These are definitely decent burgers for the quieter northern suburbs, and the chips were nice and fat too!
I decided to go all out and order a caramel milkshake ($4.5), which I found overly sweet. Luckily I ordered the kid’s version. I wouldn’t mind coming back for another bite to try a different burger and maybe those chilli fries…
Le Cafe Flo: 709 High St, Thornbury
This one will be short as it wasn’t a positive experience. I was never one to go by the “if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say it all,” motto, because we all know everything isn’t perfect. What’s the point of sharing my opinion if I can’t share the bad too?
My friends and I wanted to try a French cafe and I noticed this one near Brother Alec was always busy. Firstly I made a booking – confirming that I was bringing a dog and that I wanted to book a table outside. I get anxious about bookings and when my other friends arrived first, they told me on the phone that the table was indoors and the staff said I “never mentioned a dog”. Bad start.
We had to wait for a table outside, which luckily wasn’t long. Their cafe au lait (French coffee in a bowl) was delicious, but the food wasn’t anything special and lacked flavour. Definitely not worth the price tag. The final straw was when my friend asked for extra mushrooms but none came out. The staff told her the chef said there were definitely mushrooms in her crepe. She had to open up her crepe entirely to show that she had none.
Of course, on the growing High St, you’re going to have ups and downs. The fun thing is that there are constantly things opening and I hope the growth in the northern suburbs continues to move further out into suburbia! Do you have recommendations for places in the area? Let me know in the comments!