Fig & Walnut: A little gem by the tracks in Seddon

Consider The Sauce has long admired the twin rows of old shops on either side of the tracks near Seddon station, on Bellairs Avenue and Pentland Parade.

We’ve often wondered what the street scenes must have been like when those shops were in their heyday.

And we’ve sometimes mused on how lovely it would be to see some street life returning to the area. Of course, almost all the properties concerned have been turned over to purely residential uses in the subsequent decades.

So who could blame those who live there from being sensitive about and protective of their quiet neighbourhood?

Fig & Walnut proprietor Vera told us that as her cafe was coming together, she did indeed have to put some serious and sincere effort into winning over the locals.

She did so, and I’m betting they’re all rapt about having this business on their collective doorstep.

Because Fig & Walnut is a stunner.

Fig & Walnut. Photo: Kenny Weir
Fig & Walnut. Photo: Kenny Weir

The old shop has been done out in bright and open style, with the wooden ceilings and brickwork retained.

The eating spaces include the lovely garden out back, which has a cute-as-a-button cubbyhouse, and the front room of the shop next door.

The vibe here is bustling and cheerful. And the food, based on our first visit’s meals, is marvellous – and some of the dishes we eyeball that are headed elsewhere look even sexier.

At a superficial glance, the menu may seem to be mostly made up of variations on the cafe theme. But the results bespeak skill, imagination and inspiration way beyond that.

Bennie’s pancakes ($18) are a fantasia of colours and flavours. The gluten-free pancakes themselves are shaped like burger patties or fat cookies – and taste grainy yet also marvellous.

They’re attended by maple mascarpone, saffron-poached pear, grilled figs, berries, passionfruit, and more.

There are three salads on the menu, any of which can be supplemented by protein portions such as poached coconut chicken, eye fillet or salmon.

I feel no need of the supplements when ordering my roasted winter root vegetable salad ($16.90).

How good does it look! It tastes even better, the perfectly cooked vegetables doing a sensual tango with turmeric yogurt and rocket pesto, both of which are delivered in perfect quantities to lube things along nicely.

Reads like cafe food, priced like cafe food – delivered like a flash restaurant.

Kenny Weir is the founder of Consider the Sauce, the definitive guide to eating in Melbourne’s western suburbs

Pancakes at Fig & Walnut. Photo: Kenny Weir
Pancakes at Fig & Walnut. Photo: Kenny Weir