Sometimes you come across a café that you absolutely just need to tell all your friends about. The Glass Den is one such place. I discovered this gem of a café on Instagram when I came across a photo of their famous French Toast and it has been on my ‘Places to try’ list for a while. I finally managed to find a day to venture out to Coburg to try this place out with a few colleagues last Sunday.
The Glass Den’s set up is an unconventional one. Set on the grounds of the old Pentridge prison which has now been bulldozed and redeveloped into an emerging trendy residential and commercial area, it is certainly a tucked away location for an eatery. From its impressive bluestone walls to its warm and friendly interior, this café bears no cold and isolated prison vibes but instead as the automatic glass doors open and closed, we could hear sounds of social chatter, the smell of coffee and delicious food wafted in and out of the kitchen. The Glass Den perfectly embodies the casual suburban eatery vibe and it was clear that it was favourite among locals, travelling brunch lovers like us (all the way from the South!) and families.
Like most brunch places in Melbourne, pretty food on Instagram can initially generate a lot of bums on seats. But the truth is, there has been more than one occasion when the food looked prettier than it tasted. And there has been more than one occasion when the expectations were not met – too much attention to the look and not the taste. (I am looking at all the serial offending ‘picture pretty’ hotcakes out there) I have to say that the bright and colourful photos on Glass Den’s Instagram caught my attention, I could practically smell each dish as I scrolled through their feed.
We arrived at 9.45am and put our name down on the waiting list. If you are new to the Melbourne’s eating scene, you should probably understand that waiting is just as much a part of the experience as the eating. Especially when it comes to breakfast and brunch. I draw the line at the 1 hour mark when it comes to waiting – hungry does not look good on me. It was a pleasant surprise that we only had to wait 15 minutes for our table. On a sunny Sunday morning during peak Brunch time, this is a major win.
After ordering teas and coffees to start, we struggled to decide what we wanted and had moment of panic when we realized the famous Instagram French Toast was not on the menu. Fear not, it was on the specials board along with a few other delicious sounding dishes. After much deliberation, we chose to have the Amazing French Toast (no words👌 takes pretty food to a whole new level – and tastes good too!) to share, a serve of the Udon Daikon (with duck and the most amazing tasting daikon broth!) and the Bluestone Benedict (fried roti, pulled delicious beef cheek, perfect poached eggs and Hollandaise, the Roti tasted like crackling!) the wait was to be expected around the 20-25 minute mark but it was worth it.
We devoured our colourful lunch and spent a bit of time catching up. Table service was friendly and attentive from start to finish. The price you pay to eat at The Glass Den is on the expected and affordable price. I think in this case, you do pay for what you get.
The Glass Den has impressed me on my first visit and I look forward to visiting again soon.
Have you been to the Glass Den? What is your favourite dish there?