Located in the trendy suburb of Balaclava in Melbourne, Glass Merchants is café with a warehouse vibe, boasting a hip interior with exposed brick and a tin roof.
The current chef Munish Kumar hails from South Asia. According to Glass Merchant’s marketing manager, Declan Jacobs, Kumar has a wealth of experience in modern Asian cuisine.
“He loves trying new dishes and testing his palate and is constantly finding ways to push the boundaries,” explains Jacobs.
To create a new dish, Jacobs says that it’s a lot of trial and error.
“First, we try the new menu items with the team and get their feedback to see what needs to be changed.
“Then we run the new items as specials for a short period to see what the customers think, then if we all agree they will become part of the new menu.”
Jacobs explains that they try and buy local produce when possible. For example, the apple cider vinegar they use is KREOL from Red Hill and they also use locally produced honey from the rooftop hive of the Park Hyatt in Melbourne’s CBD.
“We only use ILLY coffee and make sure all our baristas are fully trained before launching them on the public.”
The menu doesn’t change too often but some seasonal dishes showcase fresh summer and winter produce.
Jacobs says that the most popular items on the menu are the ricotta & blueberry hot cakes served with cinnamon mascarpone, fresh strawberries and house-spiced maple syrup, saffron coconut and crushed pistachio. Another favourite is the king smoked salmon with harissa polenta, goats yoghurt, broccolini, roasted heirloom tomatoes and two poached eggs.
“We also make all our sauces and chutneys in-house as you can tell by the flavour,” says Jacobs.
“We have a very unique space here in Balaclava. It’s a great location, super team and we have a very different menu, not like your standard cafe food.”
63 Nelson St,
Balaclava VIC 3183
Photo credit: Munish Kumar