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Ela Carte Review: 'The Last Piece' comes home first

Posted by: Ela Carte | 2 October, 2012 - 12:11 PM
The Last Piece (Ela Carte)

The Last Piece – Shop 7/2 Stadium Circuit Mulgrave – 9545 3040

LISTEN BELOW: Ela Carte chats with Ross & John

ELA CARTE: If you can’t be at the MCG on Saturday, where better to be than at the new home of the Hawks, Waverley Park. There, at the bottom of the remaining grandstand, is a great, modern cafe that has well and truly adopted its sporty neighbours and their hoardes of fans.

The Last Piece is a pretty apt name, it really is housed a funny little section of stadium that is the only construction left of the old Arctic Park, standing out like the proverbial dogs’ among the new housing estate. On this Wednesday lunchtime it was pretty busy, populated seemingly by locals, nearby workers, and plenty of families with kids decked out in the brown and gold.

It’s a good, open set up with tables and booths, some in the front of the establishment, the others up the back with a good view of the Hawks training oval. The lunch menu is pretty typical cafe fare, although I loved the look of the particularly healthy salads on offer – a “nutrition darling super salad” with pumpkin, beets, beans and ricotta; or the mixed quinoa with broccolini, avocado and fetta.

There are three pastas on offer, some pub type offerings like fish and chips, steak sandwich and chicken burger, and a few specials on the board as well.

Roasted pumpkin and parmesan ravioli was hand-made on the premises, beautiful big pillows of cheese, and a great burnt butter sauce with lashings of crispy sage leaves. Generous serve made the $22 price tag justifiable.

Steak sandwich is an old reliable, this one sporting a thin dry-aged steak with onion jam, mayo, crispy bacon, tomato and melted gruyere on pide bread with the obligatory chunky chips. It was as good as example as you’d get, although Ruth Serum lamented not taking up the offer of adding a fried egg.

The hand rolled gnocchi was a little more underwhelming, a pretty standard tomato sauce with baby spinach, wild mushrooms and ricotta, and definitely worth the optional addition of pork and fennel sausage.

You’ve also got the option of an all day breakfast – the breakky bruschetta seems worth a look, with heirloom tomatoes, avocado, basil pesto and ricotta on olive toast.

At night, the focus is on their pizza, cooked Napoli style and these guys are proud of their commitment to using quality Italian ingredients like San Marzano tomatoes and Prosciutto di San Danielle. But there’s plenty to choose from if carbs ain’t your thing – twice cooked pork belly the standout on paper.

There’s a definite football feel – on the front counter you can grab a Josh Gibson gingerbread man from the jar (yes, he helped decorate them) and there’ll be more Buddy Franklin number 23 cupcakes on Grand Final day than you could poke a point post at. They’ll also have a big screen up, so you can watch the game live.

The team at The Last Piece are friendly and funky, and they seem to have made a real effort to embrace the perks of their location, and involve the local community – and it seems to be working for them. Check out their Facebook page for more info.

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LISTEN: Ela Carte speaks with Ross and John

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