Merchants Guild

Basic Info:

Name: Merchants Guild
Address:  680 Centre Road, Bentleigh East VIC 3165
Phone: (03) 9579 0734
Opening Hours:
Mon - Sun 7am to 5pm

Little Eats ‘soundbite review’:

Merchants Guild was an absolute unexpected treat on an otherwise miserable day.  Who knew Bentleigh East could deliver somewhere that is more than a breath of fresh air on the suburban food scene.

Highchair: Yes
Change table: No
Pram access:Yes
Separate kids menu: Yes
Normal menu suitable for kids: Yes - for the bigger kids
Friendly staff: Yes
Play area for kids: No
Activities provided for kids (eg: crayons): Yes - Peppa Pig Colouring page on the menu
Vibe/atmosphere: Buzzing but relaxed, cool but unpretentious
Special Dietary Options: Yes
Prices: reasonable

Little Eats detailed review:

I had, had a bummer of a morning.  We had been in the car for 50 minutes to an appointment at Monash Hospital in Clayton that should have been 35 minutes away.  No parking, a car sickness incident and then some the news that my littlest poppet needs to have a procedure had left me feeling flat and drained.  I had my eldest daughter with me too who had decided now she was (staaarving and repeatedly reminded me of this) despite rejecting breakfast at home.

I just wanted to curl up in a ball at home to hide under my doona for the rest of the day - maybe week.  I knew that there was nowhere great to eat nearby and resigned myself to the fact that we would just have to settle for less than the normal Little Eats standard cafe. Sigh....

We jumped in the car and headed down Centre road.  I just kept driving hoping something would stand out.  When it didn't, I was just happy to find a parking spot I could drive into -  I planned to just find the closest place to eat to that.  I believe that sometimes the cafe gods just speak to me, because this FABulous cafe was the one.  I saw succulents, I saw industrial stools and lighting, I saw plywood, an amazing espresso machine, I saw prams, I saw high chairs.  I felt like crying.  I know it sounds dramatic but I needed this place today.

Bentleigh East hit the Jackpot with Mer-chants Guild.  The owners are not new to the cafe scene and have run a very successful and popular one in St Kilda previously.  They also are the producers of Prana Chai Tea.  I am not a chai drinker but apparently this is delicious.  They blend it out the back and this gives the rear of the cafe a cool factory feel.

The menu is limited but has some wonderful innovative and interesting options.  The kids menu is good with not a nugget in sight - fruit salad, dippie eggs, toasted sandwiches and a vegetable puree for the little eaters.  The best part of the kids menu is that it is a colouring page of, wait for it, PEPPA PIG!!!  Sometimes it is the simplest things that cafes do that keep the kids entertained.  They know their audience.

I don't know if the extremely helpful and friendly waiter could tell that I had no patience left but the coffee came out almost before I ordered it and our brunch/lunch did too.  Coffee was great, food was great, interiors were on trend - ply is oh so fly.

With lots of space to swing a pram and a large communal table at the back it's a great option for a mother's group catch up.

I walked in with a frown on my crown and out with a smile on my dial.  Not many cafes can do that for a person.

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