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Ela Carte reviews Second Home in Eltham

MML

Second Home – 21 Brougham St Eltham ? www.secondhomeeltham.com.au

Second Home is the latest caf? for Jason M. Jones, who has opened enough establishments to know how to please the masses. For me, this is his best. Less a ‘pack ’em in’ approach, Second Home is all light and space ? a rarity in this age of no bookings, no elbow room, and no way you’re going to be able to hear your dining partner speak.

The architecture helps, and the layout seems to be designed to draw attention to how beautiful this building is. Designed and built by local architect Alastair Knox in the early 1970’s, it’s been a light bulb factory, bus depot, second hand store and galley before this incarnation. It might be unusually located in an industrial area, but it’s just lovely.

Inside it really is surprising how spacious things are. Tables aren’t on top of each other, they’re spread across the back of the main room and through to a courtyard.

The thin slices of venison are aged for two weeks.

The thin slices of venison are aged for two weeks.

The menu is large, and it’s good. It’s a little cheeky too ? dish names include the very literal ‘spag on toast’, the ‘pick me up please’, and there are no ‘eggs’, just ‘googies’.

Yes there are the staples (they even call it the ‘obligatory smashed avocado’), there are the oh-so-fashionable (almost painfully) healthy options (think ‘breakfast super salad’), but at lunch time at least there are some dishes that transcend your standard caf? fare.

We shared, to start, a gorgeous venison carpaccio. Thin slices of Goulburn Valley venison loin are aged for a minimum two weeks, with locally sourced beetroot, baby shallots with carrot puree and a dusting of finely grated, bitey grana Padano cheese.

For the mains, Yarra Valley free range chicken comes with a parmesan and herb crust, lovely and juicy, it’s topped with a house-made ‘slaw with cabbage, raisins, parsley and ‘soused’ onions. Great sized light lunch, no chips, no guilt!

It was just a lovely, tasty salad.

It was just a lovely, tasty salad.

Caesar Baby, Caesar sees a baby cos halved and then topped with the traditional ingredients. The croutons take the form of anchovy toast (yep, drizzled in a Spanish anchovy-infused butter then toasted), there’s maple candied bacon, gorgonzola dressing, a poached egg and lashings of grana Padano cheese. It was just a lovely, tasty salad.

From the drinks menu, a Bellini was a beautifully refreshing drink on a near-40 degree day, there are wines priced between $9 and $12 a glass, beers from $6 to $11.

The vibe is relaxed, as are the staff, Second Home is just a lovely space to enjoy a tasty meal. 

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