Does Melbourne café homogenisation have you down? Are you yearning, perhaps even desperate, for an eatery that has a unique vibration, not merely the same one that the majority of establishments are seemingly trying to replicate the city over? Does the idea of experiencing arguably Melbourne’s tastiest chai excite you? If you eat meat, have you ever considered taking a hiatus – if only a very temporary one – from your carnivorous lifestyle and enjoying some fresh, crisp and delicious vegetarian fare? If you have answered yes to any or all of these questions, then your next café destination is sorted.

Enter Bliss Café, one of Bayside Council’s genuine hidden gems. Located at 5 Mavis Avenue, Brighton East, this solid and unpretentious café is privy to beautiful views of Landcox Park, as it sits directly across the street, and is the next-door neighbour of the Tara Institute, a reputable Buddhist meditation centre. It is worth a mention that Landcox Park is not only stunning but it contains a playground, as well, making both it and Bliss Café very child friendly. In other words, it will not prove a hard sell to the little people in your family.

Bliss Café consists of two dining areas. The first is the cosy, modest inside space where diners can witness the magic happen at both the stove and the espresso machine. The staff is very friendly. The chef and co-owner, Tsering, and the head barista, Kelsang, create an environment that is relaxed, laid back, warm and engaging. The second dining area is the outside deck, which overlooks the park and also provides an intimate glimpse into Bliss Café’s very own memorial garden. Regardless of which direction you choose to turn your head towards, you are guaranteed a slice of visual beauty. The outside deck is also dog friendly, and this is immediately apparent when you enter the space and its myriad of four-legged friends tied up underneath the tables.

Let’s dive into the food and drink on offer. To repeat, the menu contains no-frills, solid, delicious, straightforward vegetarian fare. Fancy a bit of spice in your life? The Mexican Breakfast delivers – roti bread, baked beans, scrambled eggs and avocado, generously garnished with chili flakes. If a big breakfast is your thing, then the Landcox Breakfast is the way to go. Poached eggs, mushrooms, avocado, tomato, feta, spinach and home-made relish will leave you asking yourself whether returning home for a nap is the best choice you’ve made for awhile. Afternoon napping is not everyone’s cup of tea; therefore, choose the Seaweed Salad – seaweed, rice noodles, herbs and nuts with a Thali dressing – or perhaps the to-die-for Bliss Momos, a specialty from Tsering’s homeland, consisting of vegetables, organic tofu, herbs and a side salad. Then again, if a more traditional take on breakfast is to your liking, go the omelette. Slow-cooked mushrooms, spinach and tasty cheese are a classic combination capable of satisfying even the ficklest of palates.

Partnering these alimentary offerings is an equally solid and satisfying beverage list. All things coffee are overseen by Kelsang, the on-premise coffee boss.  Whatever you desire, he will deliver. Complementing Kelsang’s expertly created specialty coffee drinks is an assortment of teas, juices, hot chocolate and even the hyper-urban babycino. Again, bring the kids – you will thank yourselves for it. Wanting and/or needing the body and mind to fire on all cylinders will lead you to the Green Juice. It contains a bit of this and a bit of that, but it’s all green and it’s all good. The beverage menu rounds out this café experience at the beginning, in the middle and at the end and leaves you wondering or knowing whether you have been initiated into the sacred realm of arguably Melbourne’s most delicious chai. So exotic…

Café Bliss Overlooks Landcox Park, Brighton East

Landcox Park Playground

Meditation at the adjoining Tara Institute

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