• Merchants Guild (Bentleigh East)

Bentleigh East has its own popular hang-outs.  Arriving early afternoon on Sunday, I was surprised be in queue, although short, for Merchants Guild.  It was chosen by my south-east-living-friend for its gluten free options.  The trendy, high-ceilinged rectangle that is this cafe has polished cement floors, private tables at the front, and a large communal one at the back.  It was abuzz with Sunday brunchers.

Ten minutes later, we were seated at the back communal table on high backless stools, with stacks of provisions held by the metal frames behind us, and me unpolitely (albeit accidentally) kicking the man on the adjacent corner trying to get onto my seat.  We asked to move, wanting a relaxing meal and private conversation.

Another ten minutes later, we were at a table for two along the side wall, more comfortable and spreading out.

The menu is made up of classics with twists.  There are also a number of healthy (aka superfood) options, some gluten free and some vegetarian.  I opted for the pumpkin, fetta and harrisa biscuit with poached eggs and za’atar.

The coffee arrived first.  It is Padre and was made very strong.

The eggs arrived well-poached.  The biscuit was like a dense, dry veggie burger -  a tasty alternative to bread.  I liked the way it was arranged on the plate, although it seemed a small serve.

My friend enjoyed the super salad made with wild rice, quinoa, sweet potato, beetroot, broccoli.  A small eater, she became full quickly but continued to dip her fork into it while we chatted.

“I’m full, but I can’t stop eating, it’s just so delicious.”  This is always a good sign.

The sweet treats in the display cabinet were all too tempting, and while she continued with her salad, I indulged in a chocolate filled doughnut.  The flavours of the sugary bread and dark chocolate cream were pleasurable, although the dough was a little stale.

Whilst I don’t often venture to this side of town, I was pleased to be introduced to Merchants Guild.  Very trendy and very Melbourne, it is backed up by good quality food and dishes for modern-day eating preferences.

Merchants Guild
680 Centre Road
Bentleigh East 3165
03 9579 0734

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