The Turtle Cafe is situated on the junction of Ormond Road and Glenhuntly Road in Elwood. It serves an all day menu with a good range of breakfast options and a smaller choice of lunches.
Inside the cafe is fairly large, the glass windows all around keep it light and bright, constrasting with the mostly dark wood interior. There’s a nice range of seating options, including booths and raised benches by the windows, well suited for people just popping in for a coffee. They also make good use of the outdoor space with tables scattered across a lot of the pavement area. Ideally we would have opted to sit outside and the tables were well spread apart, however, we opted to sit inside as it was raining (I’d left my umbrella at home, so of course it was raining). Inside did feel a little squashed, I mean the place was busy which didn’t help, but for me, I would have preferred just one or two less tables as it did feel a little like people were climbing over each other, and while busy, it wasn’t full. Overally though, a nice atmosphere and it wasn’t so crammed to stop me from returning. The service was pleasant, a little slow but this could be down to them being so busy, and I wouldn’t hold it against them, they did seem to be trying their best.
I opted for the Green breakfast (because, it’s New Year and healthy eating, veggie’s with breakfast and all that) with a side of bacon (because it’s still breakfast). Mr Boring obviously got his usual scrambled eggs on sourdough (with a side of bacon). There were a lot of positives for my meal: I liked how I could eat all those veggies, yet it still felt like I was eating breakfast, I got a good amount of food and it was individual – not something I could order everywhere. However, I felt it was a dish that worked better in theory that in practice. The salsa verde had a really strong flavour that overwhelmed a lot of the other food on the plate, and combined with the feta cheese made up the take-away taste from this meal. The bacon was fine, but I’ve eaten better, same with the sourdough, it was a little too tough. Finally, the spinach was on the bottom of my plate – squashed between the sourdough and salsa verde, meaning it was soggy and unappetising by the time I reached it. Mr Boring’s scrambled eggs had a good flavour, but he shared my sentiments about the bacon and sourdough.
What I did love was the coffee! They use Code Black coffee, a Brunswick-based coffee roaster. The coffee had a strong, rich flavour but was smooth and lacked any bitterness. Put it this way, my latte lasted about 5 seconds, and the only reason I didn’t order another was this crazy ideal where I try to only have one coffee a day (and most definitely only one an hour) so I’m not bouncing off the walls. I love Code Black coffee, but trekking to Brunswick everyday for my morning coffee isn’t an option, so I am pleased to find somewhere nearby that sells it.
Overall, I would say The Turtle Cafe is worth a try if you are passing. Personally, there are better places for brunch closer to my house, and there was nothing about The Turtle Cafe’s food that would make me walk the extra Ks to rush to try it again, but I wouldn’t actively avoid it. However, their great choice of coffee will be enough to get me through the doors again (even if it is just for that take out latte).