The scene Managed by Aussie Shelagh Ryan, also responsible for Lantana in Fitzrovia, you can detect the Down Under in the Melbournian vibes, proper coffee and decor (channelling ‘Seventies Aussie beach house’, apparently).

Everything about the place drawls “chilled out”, from the haphazard decoration (mismatched wooden chairs, exposed pipes, the odd ceramic mallard hanging on the wall) right down to the lighting (not so bright that you can’t relax, not so dark that the menu is unreadable and you feel like falling asleep).

It comes off as the perfect venue for a catch up with a big group of friends or a really casual date.

The grub The setting may be Aussie, but the food finds its influences from all over the world. My dining companion starts on a caramelised pear and spiced pecan salad with bitter leaves and crumbled baked ricotta, while I plump for the Asian-style sticky pork ribs.

The latter are exactly as I’d hoped, the sauce just the right side of sweet and thick like molasses (“It’s as though a pig mated with treacle in Asia,” my date offers).

The salad’s mix of ingredients hits lots of nice notes but is a little heavy on the cheese. Next up is an excellent squid and crispy duck laksa, which although it smells intoxicatingly rich, packs a big kick (a surprise as the aroma suggests something mild in terms of spice but heavy with cream; instead, it’s invigorating and fresh).

My Cypriot lamb in filo pastry with cauliflower kisir and a tahini yoghurt dressing is also unexpectedly light – the pastry is thin and crisp while the shredded lamb leaks lashings of juicy flavour.

The result is that we leave full, but not unpleasantly so. It’s just a shame we couldn’t face the ace-looking cheesecake.

Behind the bar Craft brews (think Little Creatures, Brooklyn Lager, Anchor Porter) from £3.90; wines from £5/ £13/ £20 per glass/ carafe/ bottle; cocktails from £6.50.

Bill please Small plates from £5.50; larger plates from £9; desserts from £6.

Verdict A welcome taste of Oz cafe culture. Brunch is meant to be great, too. 

%TNT Magazine% stars 4

Unit 2, 1 Oliver’s Yard,
55 City Road, EC1Y 1HQ  
Tube | Old Street