Johnny Dante– The Overview…
Food: Big Breakfast, Chilli Scramble, Pancakes
We first visited Johnny Dante several years ago – at a time when it was probably the only place bothering to open in Cheltenham on a Sunday, and we were practically alone while enjoying our coffee. Fast forward to now, and the venue is bustling. Fortunately, a table towards the back cleared just as we arrived, and while there wasn’t a queue, tables were being taken by new customers almost as soon as they cleared. We were pleased at how far this cafe had come, while still managing to appeal to the eclectic locals of Cheltenham with its mix of long term older residents and up and coming young families – drawn by the closeness of Southland and the affordable (ish) housing.
It’s quite a creative menu, with dishes such as the smashed in Johnny’s way or Johnny Stack being a little out of the box. Johnny Dante is what Cheltenham needs. This up and coming suburb has lacked behind neighbouring Highett in terms of great brunch options for many years, so it’s good to see cafes like Johnny Dante leading the way to change this. As well as the menu, there’s a fully stocked counter of cakes, sandwiches and pastries if you’d like something a little lighter (or something else for later).
The big breakky was very traditional, and fairly simple – beans, mushrooms, sausage, plenty of bacon, a hash brown, eggs and toast. It was definitely a BIG breakfast, and there wasn’t anything weird and wonderful going on to try and make it different, just a great, filling, typical big breakfast. The bacon was particularly good: nice, thin and cooked extra crispy, just as I’d requested. I loved the no-frills approached to this dish, and it shows how Johnny Dante are treading that careful line to retain long-standing customers and be aware of what their local clientele expect, while also using other dishes on the menu to show off what they can do. They’ve worked out the right times and places to be creative!
The Chilli scramble packed a serious punch, further topped off with the chunky cut spicy chorizo on top. They don’t hold back with this one, and it’s the perfect dish if you love your spice. The scrambled eggs themselves were light and fluffy and it was another generous portion.
Finally we ended with the pancake stack. We really enjoyed the small light and fluffy pancakes, but this was the only dish we wished they’d go a bit wow with the presentation. We loved the taste and texture of the pancakes, and the simple addition of berries and ice-cream on the side. It’s a great dish, and while I’m sure I’m totally wrong, as Johnny Dante seem to have their finger on the pulse of what’s hot and what’s not in Cheltenham, I just wish they’d bump up how it looked a little to allow themselves a slightly more competitive edge on the Melbourne brunch scene! (But yeah, basically, don’t judge a book by its cover – they tasted just as amazing as some of the ones covered in nutella and fairy floss!)
Address: 253 Charman Road, Cheltenham
|Sat||6am – 4pm|
|Sun||6am – 4pm|
Parking: There’s plenty of car parking around Cheltenham. While Charman Road can get hectic at times, there’s car parks on most of the side streets. Some of the signs can be a little confusing though so read carefully!
Getting here on PT: It’s about 1 minute from Cheltenham train station on the Frankston line.
Disclaimer: We dined as guests of Johnny Dante, Cheltenham. Reviews are honest and based on our own personal experiences. We cannot guarantee things at a cafe won’t change including, but not limited to, menu items and opening hours, so please confirm any details with the venue before visiting.