Edit 20/05/2012: El Joyero is now closed and has been replaced by Lowlands.
On Sunday afternoon, Cindy and I had a date at the Thornbury Theatre with 10 of the finest men Australia has to offer. Lunch beforehand was essential, and El Joyero promised to be both convenient and delicious. Shamefully it has taken us almost exactly a year to visit this place, despite glowing reviews from some of Melbourne's greatest veg-bloggers. Things have obviously changed a bit recently - they've renovated the place and expanded the menu. As part of this process, they've dropped the strict vegetarian menu, adding in a few chorizo and fish-based dishes. Regardless they're still very attentive to dietary requirements, promising vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free adjustments wherever possible.
Having skipped eggs at Proud Mary the day before, I decided to indulge this time, opting for the poached eggs with butter and rosemary mushrooms plus avocado with lime and green chilli oil ($11.50).
The downsides: the eggs were just a touch over-poached, with the yolk hardening up around the edges and the toast was a bit dry and crunchy. The upsides: the mushrooms tasted much better than their slightly bland appearance suggested and the avo was ripe (but not too ripe!) and perfectly set off by the lime and chilli. At $11.50, this was pretty good value, but Melbourne is chock full of places doing excellent poached eggs and El Joyero fell just a tiny bit short of my hopes.
Cindy chose from the sweet side of the menu, opting for home made waffles with baked banana and mascarpone, topped with berries and walnuts ($12).
She had fewer quibbles than me - the cute waffle flower was topped with a great range of toppings, and she ploughed through it happily.
El Joyero has a lot going for it - it's a lovely space, littered with cute odds and ends, recycled furniture and a scattering of zines and CDs for sale. Throw in friendly staff, great coffee and decent prices, and it's easy to see why they were doing solid business the whole time we were there. We'll definitely be back again to sample more of the menu.
El Joyero has received unanimous blog praise. Check out: Tess, externality held close and Vetti, along with the already-linked Pip and Lisa.
Address: 923 High Street, Thornbury
Ph: 9480 1634
Price: $5 - $12