The big windows facing out onto the Capital City trail bike path and the adjacent playground have been retained and are so relaxing on a sunny day (they have a strip of outdoor heaters too). Inside is a light-filled inside area now daubed in a calming shade of sea green (natch).
New in the Green Park decor is a long leather banquette along one wall with a hip-height wall separating the seating area with the main thoroughfare. There’s a raised communal table and more seating options have been inserted in the bar area, with stools and cosy booths for singles or groups.
The daytime menu is split between ‘grains’ – granola, porridge and bready items – egg-dominated breakfast dishes and substantial lunch mains from 11-3pm. I went for the scotch egg with black pudding, rosemary glazed bacon and brioche ($20).
This was a very filling dish and I’m sure will gain a reputation for being a hangover cure. If you’re wondering whether the black pudding is (as I did) it’s actually encasing the egg! The thick cut bacon was a hefty, sticky piece of porky goodness so the light mint, parsley, radish and capers salad was a welcome relief from the richness.
For sweets head straight to the pastry cabinet, with all the pastries made in house by ex-Vue de Monde head pastry chef Gadi Assayag. They have actually started a wholesale pastry business on site called Park Street Pastries and supply their sweets to other cafes in Melbourne such as Kettle Black, Stagger Lee’s and Top Paddock. I highly recommend their cheesecake ‘sandwich’ with raspberry sugar and lemon curd.
I got a preview of the dinner menu at the cafe’s launch and some highlights included the kingfish ceviche with dabs of avocado and the heat provided by chipotle and jalapeno. It doesn’t look like much on the plate but the combination of delicate textures and flavours with the crunchy tortilla strips and tongue-sizzling chilli was an exciting combination.
My second favourite dish was a perfectly pan-fried crispy local snapper with a surprisingly delectable base of stewed zucchini, two words I’d previous thought should never be used together.
Oh yes, and don’t miss the vegetable sides! Crunchy fried chat potatoes lolling in garlic butter and colourful, flavoursome heirloom carrots, full of beta-carotene goodness to help you see the jazz musicians playing by the resident piano ‘Fats’.
It’s early days but Green Park has all the makings of a lively, friendly, neighbourhood hub where you can grab a coffee or settle in for a Sunday session with free jazz on the resident piano ‘Fats’. My only quibble with my experience on the second day of opening was that the separated main central corridor meant that waiters would walk up and down serving customers but not necessarily look sideways (to the banquettes) and I had a little bit of trouble catching people’s eye. Hopefully they’ll iron out these small issues as Green Park settles into its new digs.Green Park, 815 Nicholson Street, Carlton North (03) 9380 5455