After the success of his Greville St cafe, St Edmonds, Adam Wilkinson has opened his second venture, Denis the Menace. Located in the back streets of Cremorne, this sustainably focused cafe evokes the playful feel of its namesake, while serving up some seriously good food.
Converted from an old warehouse, the high ceilings and timber fit out give the space the feel of a kid’s treehouse. “Though designed thoughtfully, it was also playful, spurred on by character Denis the Menace. We pictured a boy building with his grandfather, armed with a twig sling shot and good intentions,” says eco-architect Simon Cookes of Duckbuild.
Cookes has created an environmentally friendly space, complete with solar panels and salvaged timber cladding. Constructed entirely from materials collected from Wilkinson over time, diners may find themselves seated on apple crates fashioned into timber booths while sipping water from glasses made from recycled Carlton Draught bottles. Take a stroll out to their courtyard where you’ll also find Denis’ earthworms doing their bit for the environment.
The extensive breakfast and lunch menus are highly original with a subtle health bent. Each dish has a fun name, such as the Big Green Good Fight ($14.00) – a mix of shredded kale, broccoli, avocado, buckwheat, pistachios and chilli served with a poached egg – or the Something Fishy Is Going On Here ($17.00) – hot smoked trout with pea puree, asparagus, avocado, spinach and kale, topped with a poached egg.
Even the simpler items are presented with a little humor, such as the Fancy Toast ($8.00) which according to the menu is like regular toast except “someone accidentally spilled raisins and orange zest in the dough”. Or the One With Museli ($12.50) served a generous dollop of coconut yoghurt vanilla, strawberries, kiwi and banana with either water, soy or almond milk. But behind the cutesy names and playful attitude are dishes with a lot of thought and finesse.
From the lunch menu, the I’ll Have What She’s Having ($18.00) is a delicate, Asian-inspired salad of seared tuna with edamame, snow peas, green beans, shiso and munzuna leaves. It’s fresh flavours make for an enjoyable light meal, but at a hefty $18.00 may leave some diners wanting more for their money.
Of course being a Denis the Menace-inspired cafe kids are welcome, with a small list of items just for them. There’s also a range of sandwiches, wraps and rolls available to take away for those on the run.
Don’t be fooled by the playful name: this is some serious food.
Denis the Menace
106-108 Chestnut Street,
(03) 9428 8010
Mon to Fri 7am-4.30pm
Sat to Sun 8am-5pm