Coffee Darling is the perfect cafe for its location. Firstly, it serves coffee (and other nice things) in a sparkling little spot on Darling Street, South Yarra. Secondly, South Yarra is the kind of suburb where two-syllable words like ‘darling’ get drawled out into four syllables ‘daaaarrrling’, usually accompanied by a couple of mwah mwah air kisses.

Pretensions aside, Coffee Darling is a seriously good place for lunch, as you’d expect from the team behind Cafe Racer in St Kilda and Federal Coffee Palace in the GPO (both since sold).

While others have raved about Coffee Darling’s breakfasts, at lunchtime the waist-high glass counter presents a wholesome selection of sandwiches with bread sourced from Baker D Chirico and Philippa’s, with fillings ranging from salami, roasted vegetables, smoked salmon and tuna.

I was feeling particularly hot after my cycle ride, so I accompanied my crusty seeded baguette of caponata and rocket with a grapefruit granita. It was a simple, yet perfect, lunch dish, especially eaten facing the gentle breeze from the open street-front doors.

On my way to pay I was lured back to the glass counter by the domes of sweet things. After much deliberation, I decided against dessert – so the waitress gave me a little friand on the house to take with me anyway. Anyone who presents me with baked goods wins in my book!

For another excellent cafe in South Yarra try Outpost or head to Ganache Chocolate Lounge for a chocolate hit.

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