I always find a sense of wonder in the lengths that new businesses will go to in trying to differentiate themselves from the rest of the restaurant pack. Two Rathdowne has covered more than enough bases, as a cafe-cum-furniture store-cum-produce store, all they need is an art gallery in the corner to truly be unique.
I enjoyed a nice breakfast here on a recent trip to Melbourne, although the company of my dear friend Bronwyn perhaps put a little extra shine on this new venue. Only a few months old, Two Rathdowne has not been around quite long enough to iron out all the kinks, but still has the added bonus that not many people know about it yet, and the waitstaff have a shiny, happy quality that only comes in the early days of a new business.
The large space has been used well, with two long communal tables encouraging strangers to share while providing an option sure to become popular with big groups. A big empty space at the front of the room provides standing room for locals waiting for morning take-aways, without crowding seated punters. Although, a small chair utilised by some would probably have remained empty if anyone had noticed it's $1500 price tag. I stayed well away, as it would be just my luck to spill coffee on a sofa worth more than my entire wardrobe.
The food was well presented, although I felt we received our meals a little too quickly, and on close inspection I found my breakfast on the cool side. My memory fails me, I cannot remember exactly what I ordered, as I was deep in conversation about road trips around Europe, a topic of discussion that would distract most of us.
The menu is largely breakfast focused, an reasonably priced. Traditional favorites, like porridge with banana and brown sugar or eggs florentine are available, as well as a BLT with house-made mayo and relish. Lunch options feature daily soups, pastas and panini.
I'm not sure if anyone is likely to purchase a $400 lamp over their breakfast, but I am impressed by the style of this venue. With so many cafe options in this area, Two Rathdowne may have carved themselves into a successful niche market. Time will tell.