The Meeting Place Cafe, South Yarra

It’s a very rare occurrence when I visit a café for a second visit, however necessity sometimes dictates location. My gorgeous hair stylist is located in a small arcade in South Yarra, adjacent to The Meeting Place café, so in order to get to my early Saturday morning appointment, I decided to kill two birds with one stone and enjoy a quick breakfast there beforehand.

The courtyard area was occupied when I arrived 45 minutes before my scheduled appointment so I wandered inside and found a small table in a corner by the window with a view of the arcade. The owner was happy to see my return and promptly brought over the menu and a bottle of water, but in his excitement forgot to ask if I wanted a coffee, and at that time of the morning, I was really looking forward to one.

The menu has changed since my last visit in June; there are new dishes and the spelling mistakes are no longer the main attraction. Taking a look over the menu, I was happy to see that the Nutella and banana pancakes were still available, which was just what I felt like I needed to get me through the day. After a small wait, I ordered the pancakes and a large, hot skinny latte and settled in to read the newspaper.

My much-needed coffee arrived shortly thereafter, slightly on the strong side but very much appreciated. With the sun streaming through the large front windows, steadily sipping my coffee and reading the news of the day, I was enjoying my time out before realising that the clock was ticking and that I had an appointment that I wanted to honour. Before I knew it, half an hour had past, I had finished reading and my breakfast was yet to appear despite being due to be elsewhere in less than ten minutes. As soon as I sent a text message to warn my hairdresser that I could be late, the most perfect pancakes I have ever seen were placed in front of me.

Nutella and banana pancakes - roasted hazlenuts, strawberries served with vanilla custard - The Meeting Place, South Yarra
Nutella and banana pancakes – roasted hazlenuts, strawberries served with vanilla custard – The Meeting Place, South Yarra

Accompanied by a small jug of thin vanilla custard, the presentation of the dish was excellent: two perfectly formed, symmetrical pancakes stacked together, drizzled with maple syrup and chunks of hazlenuts, garnished with a strawberry that had been halved and fixed to the pancake with a dollop of nutella and a sprig of mint. Crispy on the edges, the pancakes had a moist and fluffy texture – not dry or doughy but cooked just right. The middle layer of the pancake stack consisted of nutella chocolate-hazelnut spread, topped with thin slices of fresh banana and sweet strawberries. It was so delicious and obviously formed with some care, that I forgot about the length of time it took to prepare and settled in and enjoyed my breakfast with gusto.

Nutella and banana pancakes - roasted hazlenuts, strawberries served with vanilla custard - The Meeting Place, South Yarra
Nutella and banana pancakes – roasted hazlenuts, strawberries served with vanilla custard – The Meeting Place, South Yarra

As luck would have it, my hairdresser arrived fifteen minutes after my scheduled appointment so in the end, the timing turned out to be spot on. I guess slow and steady wins the race.

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