Friday, July 09, 2010

July 3, 2010: The Bell Jar

Sometimes I despair of being a Melbourne food-blogger. We finally get around to visiting Proud Mary and feeling like we're catching up to the zeitgeist a bit and then a pile of trendy new places open up (I'm fully aware that the linked places have all been open for ages, we're just slow). So it was a relief for us to get ourselves organised fairly quickly to visit the recently opened and widely raved about Bell Jar in Clifton Hill.

It's a really cute space - a bustling front-room, a laid-back communal table tucked around the back and a courtyard that would be perfect in summer (minus the two guys who were smoking like chimneys on our visit). The communal table, where we were seated was decorated with a very autumnal centrepiece (see above), which made the excellently made coffees (with Bonsoy!) that much more enjoyable.

For eats, Cindy strangely opted for savoury: mushrooms and rocket with Meredith feta and walnut pesto on sourdough ($12). Buried underneath all those greens was a thick slice of delicious toast, slathered with a wonderful pesto - just the thing to complement the creamy feta and hearty mushrooms. This was a cracking breakfast.

I couldn't go past the vego potted poached eggs of the day (w/ beans), served with relish and toast ($13). The beany mush is underneath the eggs in the picture above and was hearty and warming, with a sweet oniony relish and perfectly poached eggs to smear all over the toast. My only disappointment was the single slice of toast - I could have done with a second, although I probably would have ended up overfull.

It's worth mentioning the service - the staff were all super friendly and attentive and apologetic for even the tiniest issue (I had to wait a full 90 seconds longer for my coffee than our brekkie companion!). The place was pretty full while we were there, so it seems as though word is spreading - The Bell Jar isn't really going to get many walk-ins at the industrial Clifton Hill end of Smith Street, but with great affordable food, a brilliant atmosphere and super service, they should be able to survive pretty comfortably.

Despite our impressive timeliness, Brian, Joyce, Hookturns and Vetti all got in and reviewed The Bell Jar before us.

Address: 656 Smith Street, Clifton Hill
Ph: 0410 336 019
Price: $5-$14


  1. I want to go there just for the name alone - but the food looks good too - will do a drive by next time I am in the neighbourhood

  2. You think YOU'RE slow? I lived opposite Proud Mary and I STILL haven't been.

    Nice to finally know what it's called though seeing as it was way too hip and cool for signage.

  3. I went there the other day! Totally agree about the staff, they were so sweet and friendly, made my friend and I feel very cosy and welcome.

  4. um niki, signage would be printed on the front glass.

    this place is simply wonderful, happened upon it purely by accident.

    coffee is ridiculously good. five senses. the staff are incredible too!

  5. agreed!~! i met the husband and wife team that owns The Bell Jar and they are beautiful people. we want to go there simply cos they are so damn lovely.

  6. I admire you guys!!!! you're so onto it!

  7. Oh, so glad you made it to The Bell Jar. They have created a really cosy, welcoming little cafe which serves fabulously fresh food - it's a new favourite of mine.

    Jetsetting Joyce

  8. The Bell Jar is so easy to love - and worth going out of your way for...