Welcome to the neighbourhood, Gardiner & Field
Address: 43 Union Street, Armadale
Phone: (03) 9078 1125
Weekdays 7am until 4pm
Weekends 8am until 4pm
Gardiner and Field opened a couple of months ago south of the river in what was once a decrepit milk bar. Now, it seems everyone in Armadale and surrounds is flocking to this little café, excited that there is finally another decent offering for Sunday brunch that doesn’t involve driving all the way to the other side of Punt Road.
After gutting the joint with the help of family and friends, Nick Gardiner (ex The Maling Room) and Jess Feldy (ex 30 Mill) are now the proud owners of the sunlit space, which is decorated with daffodils and colourful, rotating artwork.
Homemade conserves, eggs, Woodfrog Bakery bread, The Maling Room coffee beans and newspapers border the window, keeping the old milk bar spirit alive. Patrons can sit lining the street outside, at one of the tables for two, or even opt to make a few friends on the large communal table up the back. Gardiner and Field gets seriously busy during peak times though, so beggars can’t be choosers when it comes to table preferences.
Coffee arrives on mint-green china. Choose from either the house blend roasted over at The Maling Room or the single origin of the day on the specials board. I ordered the former, a smooth, full blend that was the perfect temperature. On a return visit recently, I went all out and ordered a Snickers milkshake. I was disappointed. It had so much potential with caramel syrup, chocolate and peanut butter in the mix, but it seemed that the ‘milk’ part of ‘milkshake’ was much too prominent. It simply didn’t compare to the Snickers milkshake around the corner at Eden Espresso on Glenferrie Road. That being said, Gardiner and Field’s coffee puts theirs to shame.
As for the menu, there are daily rotating specials as well as an all-day breakfast menu. This came in handy when we visited; I was in lunch mode while my buddy still had his breakfast hat on. He devoured the baked rhubarb and strawberries rolled in French toast tortillas, with orange segments, mint and a generous sprinkling of honeyed granola for some extra crunch.
My choice for breakfast would have been the spiced quinoa, pumpkin and chickpea fritters with flatbread, spiced yoghurt, coriander and poached eggs, but instead I opted for the spiced lamb burger, served with crunchy, golden fries. The meat was juicy, the roasted capsicum and rocket were fresh, and the tzatziki added some tang. The challah bun, supplied by Woodfrog Bakery in St. Kilda, was sweet and supple like brioche. But unlike brioche, it didn’t fall apart following that crucial first bite. If you haven’t tasted Jewish challah bread, you haven’t lived. Stop by Glick’s Bakery on the way home in Glenferrie Road, Malvern and buy a loaf. You can thank me later.
I’ll definitely be back to Gardiner and Field. It’s not as showy as nearby Coin Laundry and has a younger demographic than Le Petit Prince. The staff are jovial, the food is consistent and you’ll want to order a second latte. It’s the sort of place where there are no nasty surprises. Think of Gardiner and Field as an old, reliable friend, even though it's a new Armadale addition. I’ll just have to wait to those queues die down before I return.