Destinations Magazine

On Venturing out at Zen Den, Eltham

By Millietheowl @millietheowl
It’s so easy to get lazy when you live in the inner suburbs. With everything at your fingertips, from cafes to restaurants to shopping, why would you need to go anywhere else? There’s actually a million and one reasons. One of the best things about Melbourne is it’s diversity; a quality only seen if one ventures further than the city. When Jackie mentioned to me a cafe close to her, much farther afield from town than I usually travel, I jumped at the opportunity to not only see a new part of my favorite city, but also to see my friend in her natural habitat. To see the best, one must step out of the comfort zone.


Cafe Zen Den
736 Main Rd Eltham
9439 8838
Cafe Zen Den on Urbanspoon You know you’re in Eltham when you start seeing koala crossing signs. Big buildings are replaced by expanses of gum trees as suburbia meets the bush. I am told that it’s not uncommon to see kangaroos around. Many of the roads have a speed limit of 80, a novelty in Melbourne’s terrible traffic, but also a risk if you’re trying to find the understated Cafe Zen Den in unfamiliar streets.


You’ll be surprised when you do: what appears to be a tiny little coffee shop front opens around the corner to an expanse of colourful tables and quirky decor. Friendly staff welcome you (plus your kids and even your dog) with open arms; an experience less common inner city as too cool hipsters or top sommeliers look down their nose with contempt.


I’m not going to lie. Being a Melbourne coffee snob, this was my biggest point of concern venturing to the ‘burbs. Instead, I was blown away. Not only was the coffee beautifully roasted, smooth and subtle in flavour, but each cup had love evidently poured in. Have you ever seen latte art so fantastic?


The menu is one consisting of all your favourites and we ordered with that in mind. Eggs benedict and a Bircher muesli graced our table promptly and, despite fancy presentation not being the focus, the flavours were there. Hunks of salty ham hock, soft juicy sultana with poached pear (I hope you’ve realised I’m not talking about the same dish); both plates were nearly licked clean.



Cafe Zen Den hasn’t completely off cast the city trends; juices and smoothies are served in jars and a raw gluten free chocolate cake sat snugly in the snack cabinet.


I loved Eltham. The vibe is relaxed and there’s a lot to be said for being immersed in even that little bit more nature. People are friendlier, the food tastes just as good I can’t but hope that budding friendships give me more excuses to head to Melbourne’s outer suburbs. There is so much more to explore.


P.S I need this bottle in my life.

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog