St James – The Overview…
Glass-fronted St James is nestled away in the middle of Malvern Road shopping strip. This unassuming cafe can be a little-blink-and-you-miss-it, which you shouldn’t as it’s got some stunning dishes on offer.
Food: Fish Finger Butty, Apple Bircher, Potato Rosti
Inside it’s your fairly standard Melbourne cafe, with a dark wooden service counter, dominated by the coffee machine. There’s a window bar and then split level seating on contrasting white and turquoise tables giving splashes of colour. There’s several street side tables outside, which we chose to occupy and were surprised at how relaxing the atmosphere was. Inside was a little busier and noisier but it still made for a fairly low key, chilled brunch experience. There’s also a spacious and adorable courtyard out back if you’d prefer to be well away from the hustle and bustle.
The friendly staff keep up St James’ unassuming, modest qualities. When pushed they will provide advice on the menu, and only at the end did they really gush about the hard work that has gone into refining many of their dishes. Otherwise, as with the decor of the cafe, they just exude a quiet confidence that they know what they’re doing. We went for their well-known fish finger butty, the apple bircher and the potato rosti.
The Fish finger butty had perfect quantities of everything. The fish fingers had lots of light white fish with a thin breadcrumb batter. The light aioli and salad brought just the right level of freshness and flavour without overwhelming the delicate dish. The hand cut chips tasted exactly like my mum used to make, deep fried but not greasy and they are exactly what a dish like this needs. I’d eat this every day. It’s a little bit of Britain in the heart of Melbourne.
The Potato Rosti dish was not shy with the chilli oil. The beetroot had lovely light pickle, and a great sweetness, we loved this little addition. The Creamy cauliflower purée balanced out the stronger flavours and was really needed to offset that chilli oil. Get a mouthful with a bit of everything to really appreciate the beautiful flavours of this dish. The home made potato rosti were a good size and it was a nice mixing of classic brunch items with creative ingredients.
Finally we ended with the Bircher – our brunch dessert. The rosewater poached pear adds a real sweetness to this dish. We loved the flavour of the orange caramel and the fact that it’s a fruity Bircher dish. It definitely had a dessert like feel, while still retaining the healthiness of a bircher dish and the variety of nuts included in the granola. St James dare to be a little different, but do it in such a modest, understated way!
Address: 1376 Malvern Road, Malvern
Mon 7am to 3:30pm
Tue 7am to 3:30pm
Wed 7am to 3:30pm
Thu 7am to 3:30pm
Fri 7am to 3:30pm
Sat 8am to 3:30pm
Sun 8am to 3:30pm
Parking: Parking on Malvern Road is typically up to 1 hour, however, on most of the nearby side streets you can find longer spots quite easily.
Getting here on PT: It’s on the 72 tram route so it’s an easy reach by PT (alight at Tooronga Road). Not too far from Tooronga station either if you don’t mind a short walk.
Disclaimer: We dined as guests of St James Cafe, Malvern Reviews are honest and based on our own personal experiences. We cannot guarantee things at a restaurant won’t change including, but not limited to, menu items and opening hours, so please confirm any details with the venue before visiting.