Monday, October 22, 2012

Wide Open Road

October 17, 2012

Behind this rather unimpressive facade is Wide Open Road - awarded 'best new cafe' by The Age in 2011 and sibling to Brunswick favourite A Minor Place. I dropped in here a few times when it first opened - it was a tiny cafe with a simple menu that was basically a subset of A Minor Place. Since my last visit a lot has changed - they've renovated like crazy, more than doubling the floor space and adding a proper kitchen. They've also added a bunch of vegan-friendly dishes to the menu, leading to a series of recent visits from Melbourne's veg-blog mafia, in turn leading to our visit pre-work on a Wednesday morning (joined by Steph, who's making up for lost time breakfast-wise after being in China for much of the past year).

The new interior is gorgeous with lots of space, big windows and beautiful wood everywhere. They've really done a wonderful job with what used to be a pretty crowded little room. We settled into the back corner and knocked back some delicious hot drinks (chai for Cindy, soy flat white for me) while perusing the menu.

The new menu has three vegan options (one for lunch, two for brekkie) and loads of vegetarian dishes to choose from. Steph went back for the tomato and smoked paprika beans, which I was sorely tempted by. But knowing that like Carla I'd inevitably compare them to the famous Henry's Beans, I decided to branch right out and tackle the scrambled tofu (with capsicum, spring onion, zucchini, cavolo nero and cumin with confit tomatoes, mushrooms and avocado on whole grain toast, $16.50).

Here's me happily hoeing into it. It's a dry tofu scramble, but not in a bad way - just packed with goodies and fried up beautifully. The cumin added a hint of spice and with a squeeze of lemon on top I was pretty damn impressed. The mushies and avocado were great as well (I'm sure the tomatoes were too but I'm just not a fan). Scrambled tofu comes in so many varieties - liquidy and Asian-inspired at Dench, straight egg-replacement at Kopps and weird paste at Grigons and Orr to name a few - these are in the top bracket, and well worth a special trip.

Cindy couldn't go past the pancakes, covered in toppings aimed squarely at her interests (coconut, strawberries, lemon curd and whipped mascarpone, $16.50).

These were so good that I didn't even get a taste - Cindy polished them off all by herself. From her report they were fantastic - fluffy pancakes and wonderful toppings. A sweet breakfast to tempt even the staunchest savoury-lover.

Wide Open Road is hitting it out of the park - it's a lovely space, with friendly and efficient staff, great coffee and a brilliant and well-executed menu. It's hard to pinpoint anything they could be doing better (aside from keeping Henry's beans on the menu!). No doubt the weekend brings with it queues and a slightly more hectic experience, but on a lazy Wednesday morning, it can't be beaten.


Veg bloggers have been getting stuck into Wide Open Road - check out vegan about town, Green Gourmet Giraffe, easy as (vegan) pie and every night a one night stand.

Wide Open Road
274 Barkly Street, Brunswick
9387 6079
veg breakfasts $7-16.50

Accessibility: Tables outside are on a sloping footpath and there are a couple of steps up on entry. There's a fair bit of space inside, although they manage to squeeze plenty of tables in there. There's full table service. We didn't visit the toilets.


  1. Nice to hear your take on the scramble - I had it recently and loved it. You mention of other scrambles makes me realise I probably loved it because it doesn't try to be like eggs at all. And I can vouch for the tomatoes being delicious (and I am not a huge tomato fan). We loved our visit there - would love to go back. (But I just wasn't that impressed with A Minor Place or Henry's beans - perhaps bad timing there)

  2. The scramble looks great, I love scrambles that are loaded up with extras!