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Teach is now back at work (sob) and the Rocket and I are trying to remember what we do with our days. Turns out, now that I have the car all day long, we can waste time outside fabulously and with the greatest of ease. I couldn’t tell you what we’ve done with the past week, but somehow it is Friday in a few short hours and I don’t remember spending much time in the house, though we must have as the Rocket has learned to roll over in both directions now, both a source of pride and fear because now I will have to vacuum a wider area (sob harder).


Today’s jaunt out of the house was to catch up with my friend Tessa, back from an overseas adventure that kept her away for half a year. A new cafe has opened up near her place so I packed her up along with the Rocket and off we went to The Red Brick Cafe. It’s a beautiful place: wooden furniture, painted brick walls, ribbon-coated glass bottles hanging in the windows, blackboards, shelves stacked with produce, excellent music (i.e. stuff I have both heard of and own.) One of my favourite things about it is that the outdoor tables come with blankets on the seats for you to sit on or wrap around yourself if it’s cold. Who does that? This place does that! Good for them.

My excellent soy flat white ordered and hoovered down, it was time to eat: the menu has vegetarian options but nothing glaringly vegan, so I went for my tried and true option of sourdough toast, mushrooms and avocado, while Tessa had the vegetarian breakfast with poached eggs. She enjoyed hers and mine was exactly what I asked for. The avocado was fresh and the mushrooms were cooked, but neither blew my mind. The bread, however, was divine, and honestly, I am not really complaining that they gave me something off-menu just because they didn’t fancy it up with gold flakes and miniature umbrellas or what have you. (I think I am just mad at myself for not ordering the breakfast bruschetta sans feta, but I would totally go back so next time, Gadget, next time.) And the avocado and mushrooms were proportioned exactly for the amount of bread, which is a fine art in itself.

Service is roundly amazing, with a highchair offered and delivered, speedy delivery of coffee and food and much friendliness directed at grown-ups and kiddos. There’s a step on entry but outside tables are available. A nice surprise was when we went up to pay and found a shelf full of chocolate pencils, real crayons and a sign offering paper for anyone wanting to draw. For something a bit tucked away (albeit on a fairly main road) it has achieved high cuteness, including their delivery of milkshakes in old milk bottles with blue-and-red-striped straws.

After lunch (it was supposed to be brunch but I am now perpetually late) I had to go post some stuff, and as it was raining and I am a weather sook I proposed a drive to nearby Doncaster Shoppingtown to go to their undercover post office. While there I accidentally suggested we get a cupcake from Joy Cupcakes and sadly Tessa was totally eager. So we had to do that. And another round of coffees.

This is Joy’s orange polenta popcorn cupcake, one I bought at first because I’ll try anything vegan but now buy obsessively because it’s actually, honestly great. I can’t taste the polenta (which I’m not generally a fan of), just light fluffy citrus tastiness with the texture change of the popcorn to make things interesting. Joy also does vegan red velvet and chocolate-on-chocolate depending on the day, but I cannot resist the orange one. More citrus cupcakes! Yes yes. Sadly, the coffee was not as good as our first one of the day–the soy milk they used was a weird kind that tasted a bit fibre-y, or something–but the cupcake made everything okay. I think I will go back for one tomorrow. The only thing that bothers me about Joy is that they are super determined to warn anyone who buys a vegan cupcake that they are vegan and are they sure they still want it? It makes them seem suspicious, like vegan is code for “made from only the smartest dolphins and cutest puppies.” Which is only partly true.


Red Brick Cafe

215Mont Albert Road

Surrey Hills

9836 0009



Joy Cupcakes

Level 1, Kiosk 102

Westfield Doncaster

619 Doncaster Road


9848 1115


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