Penta – The Overview…
Penta, on Elsternwick’s Ridell Parade, is a beautiful cafe with an industrial fit out some of the most stunning dishes in Melbourne.
Food: Okonomiyaki, Rainbow Chakra, Chia Beetroot Pudding, Nutella Panna Cotta
Penta has to be one of our favourite cafes in Melbourne. Being one of our local cafes before we moved, I’ll always remember the first time I tasted that glorious Nutella pannacotta which has now become an icon of Melbourne brunch. Two years and one new owner later Penta is still consistently filling tables every weekend, showing it’s so much more than one great dish!
On this visit, Chronicles of Nardia and I arrived a little after 12. Having been assured by owner Chris this would be a quieter time, I was surprised to see most tables still full (and indeed it remained that way throughout our visit). While the days of 45 minutes waits are perhaps slacking a little for Penta (thank god, that’s not a good experience for anyone), it’s clearly still an incredibly popular spot and I would expect to queue (or book) if you’re visiting at peak times.
I decided to go for one of my all time favourite dishes here, the rainbow chakra. It’s been a while since my last Penta visit so I had some serious cravings for this one. Stacked full of fresh veggies, a beetroot hummus and topped with greens, feta and a poached egg, it’s one of those dishes that leaves you feeling so healthy. (Just FYI I didn’t even check the menu to tell you what’s in the dish.) I love the crunchiness of the veggies, the bright beetroot and the nutty dukkah in this gorgeous dish. It’s one of those dishes that has you questioning why it’s not a brunch staple on every menu across Melbourne.
Nards tried one of her faves, the Okonomiyaki. I was a little scared, I’d totally hyped up Penta, they way any pre 25 year old hypes Harry Potter, so when she told me she orders this popular Japanese pancake dish whenever it’s on a menu I was praying that Penta’s held up to her expectations. Thankful it did (if you don’t believe me read Chronicle of Nardia’s review). Stacked up with three fritters drizzled in hoisin sauce and kewpie mayo – it looked great – phew! Now for the taste: the pancakes were full of flavour and while fully loaded with the sauces, these didn’t overwhelm the pancakes. It’s definitely something I’d go back and order again and it got the thumbs up from her too!
We finished off with the beetroot chia pudding. A gorgeously presented dish and not overly sweet, it’s a nice contrast to the decadent pannacotta. The watermelon jerky is a gorgeous touch and such a highlight on the plate. The nutty granola is sticky enough but breaks apart for an easy eat, while the slightly tart yoghurt and earthy beetroot just pull back the sweetness from the fruit and chia. I often find these puddings too sweet these days but this one is perfect – and very filling.
Now it’s hard to review Penta without at least giving a nod to their pretty panna cotta. The banana nut butter sushi is one of the most divine things I have EVER eaten and you have to try this dish at least once in your life. The smooth, creamy flavoured pannacotta is every Nutella lover’s dream and is pleasantly balanced by the fresh fruit and homemade marshmallows which stop the Nutella from overwhelming. It’s such a well done dish (and it looks AMAZING).
For reasons of brevity I’ll stop going on about the menu at Penta, but honestly, I’ve tried pretty much everything except the salmon noodles dish (I don’t know why I’ve just not had it) and never been disappointed. If you’re planning or trying something in particular, shoot me an email or pop a note in the comments and I’ll let you know my thoughts.
Address: 28 Riddell Parade, Elsternwick
Mon 7am to 4pm
Tue 7am to 4pm
Wed 7am to 4pm
Thu 7am to 4pm
Fri 7am to 4pm
Sat 7:30am to 4pm
Sun 8am to 4pm
Parking: There’s parking on Riddell Parade, or if that’s full there’s two large carparks just around the corner.
Getting here on PT: It’s a couple of minutes walk from Elsternwick train station or the 67 tram.
Disclaimer: We dined as guests of Penta, Elsternwick. 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.