Photography by Amy Weavell
A two-storey mega bakery with Greek patisserie options and a full Mediterranean menu.
Located just a stone’s throw from Oakleigh Centre – a hub of the south east and the heart of Melbourne’s Greek precinct – is Vanilla Lounge.
A sweet tooth’s heaven, you’re immediately greeted with an impeccable assortment of incredibly sweet and colourful cakes, while a variety of wraps and panini are available for those after a quick and easy meal on the run.
An absolutely massive space with endless tables of all shapes and sizes to accommodate either a simple dinner for two or a group looking for a bite of lunch. The upstairs offers a more expansive dining area, catering for a sit-down meal rather than the cafe style downstairs – which has a stocked bar toting an extensive wine list and cocktails cleverly named after each of the Mediterranean Isles.
There’s a distinct feeling of friendship and community buzzing through the venue with large groups of regulars happily chatting with staff as they rotate around. They’ve been around for ten years now and pride themselves on good service and locally sourced products.
If you’re after a light meal, you can’t go past the spanakopita – a Greek classic cooked to perfection with crisp pastry and a rich filling that melts in your mouth. The more adventurous might be tempted by the roast beetroot and freekah salad served with feta, complete with figs straight from the owner’s tree. Beautifully presented, it’s an explosion of flavours with each ingredient bringing unique strengths to the dish. It’s made all the better for adding chicken, which brings heft to an already filling special.
The meat platter is a carnivore’s dream. The sausage or loukaniko has a distinctly Greek flavour, with a medley of herbs giving a rich taste that settles in. The pork and beef keftedes are a combination of fresh meats, well cooked to trap in all the flavours. The chicken gyros is the highlight – blended with spices and prepared as if carved right from the spit. The delectable poultry melts in your mouth.
For dessert there’s sweet and rich galaktobouriko, a staple of Greek desserts and perfect with a coffee at the end of your meal, or kormo for those after something a little less sweet, but equally delicious.
If you’re seeking unique Greek cuisine with a modern flair or a selection of sweet treats served in the friendliest of settings, Vanilla Lounge is the place for you.