I LIKE a cafe where you can choose a table according to your mood.
Steam Haus is a kind-of newish addition to the Maylands town centre; a renovated old home where each room is an artistic statement in its own right.
For the slightly nostalgic the front parlour’s the place to go, with its olde-worldey shelves of victuals and collectibles.
Heading further into the cafe, you pass the hipster’s hangout, the family room with space for a crawling toddler and the dog-lovers zone on the back verandah. Even the pop art toilet’s an eye-opener; flick the lights on and off quickly or spin around and you’ll feel you’re in a Velvet Underground video.
It sounds chaotic, but is done with finesse so the overall effect is one of a comforting welcome.
And that’s exactly what I got from staff.
It was just before Melbourne Cup. The rest of Maylands was tacked up and taxiing off, and I fully expected to be subjected to distracted service as the town’s anti-racing oddball.
But there was none of that; Steam Haus was mercifully free of cup fever and every time I found myself needing another excellent, creamy flat white ($4) there was a smiling face behind the counter ready to oblige.
Steam Haus has a typical modern cafe menu, with all-day brekkies offering the classics like toast, eggs, croissants or toasted sandwiches with a little twist here or there.
I went for the more lunchy caesar salad ($19) and a freshly squeezed orange juice ($6.50).
The salad was a good midday size and came with a slightly runny and warm poached egg perched on top, which made me think I may never go back to cold, hard-boileds ever again.
I’m not sure I’m a big fan of the small inner cos leaves, though. The outies are a better source of beta carotene and vitamin k than their anaemic inner cousins, and have a little more grunt in their dark green.
But the innies are a bit crisper and present quite well, so it may be something to just grin and bear.
The salad was finished off with lovely crispy bacon and a delicious classic dressing and all up was a great lunch and left enough room to try a treat.
Steam Haus carries a range of Mary Street Bakery’s excellent pastries, but this time a slice of the cafe’s own chocolate brownie caught my eye. It was beautifully moist and sugary enough to satisfy this sweet tooth, and accompanied by another of those delicious, creamy coffees, left me to roll out in a fine mood.
Steam Haus is a great addition to an already cracking local scene, and I think it’s got the right ingredients to be a long-term fixture.
by STEVE GRANT
206B Whatley Cres, Maylands
Monday – Friday 7am – 5pm
Saturday, Sunday 7am – 3pm