Bent is ‘kid friendly’ in the sense that I had to wait five minutes to take this photo because of all the kids spilling out of the door. It’s a ‘go there after the school drop-off with the infants’ haunt, central to at least four local primary schools. If you don’t like children, you will end up pulling the same face that the very pretty girl with the very buff boyfriend did as she perched at the other end of the cafe with her macchiato.
I guess that is the hazard of being the coolest place in the whole of Bentleigh. Granted, no one could accuse Bentleigh of being an inherently cool place, but here we have a little slice of South or North Melbourne and no one had to pay any Citylink tolls to get there.
Bent Espresso is a little hidden, and if you rely on the street address alone you may end up feeling quite disappointed after breakfast at the National Bank. It actually faces Bent Street, opposite the party shop, which is where you’ll want to go afterward to celebrate the fantastic food you just ate. It’s not a big place, so don’t bring everyone you’ve ever met along with you (how embarrassing is it!) and if you have a very large handbag, probably leave it in the car.
Note: I believe that ‘Bentleigh’ was actually named after ‘Bent’ (I want to say Thomas Bent), rather than the other way around. When I was in high school, my boyfriend and I used to joke about getting Bent on Bent Street. Eventually we did it and for an hour, as you can imagine, it was the funniest thing anyone had ever done, ever.
Green Eggs and Sam
The ‘Sam’ part is, I think, a word play on the salmon. Because usually you have green eggs and ham, but this has salmon instead. So it’s Sam. Or maybe it’s a Dr Seuss reference, as in Sam I Am. As you can tell, I didn’t ask. Wherever the name has its origins, the meal is a seedy bagel (‘with seeds’, not ‘big night on the piss’) topped with baby spinach, smoked salmon and what could only be described as a the kind of pesto scrambled eggs I’d like to build a nest out of and then lay in, lazily munching from the side of my mouth, for the rest of my life.
Very nice indeed, with the freshness of the ingredients all on display. Some of the other places I’ve been could take a few lessons from Bent on the preso front.
The bagel itself was tasty and appropriately toasted. The spinach had been seasoned instead of just plonked directly from the Coles bag (although they do say ‘pre-washed’ and ‘ready to serve’).
Those eggs though – they were a masterpiece in olive hues. Someone had scrambled them in such a way as to leave chunks of delicious yolk but whisk it together with milk and pepper and everything that makes eggs done this way such an indulgence. My mouth is literally watering as I type this.
A special mention to the chef who managed to keep the smoked salmon cold atop its hot mountain of Kermity goodness. One of the main reasons I rarely order smoked salmon with breakfast is that it arrives at the table partially cooked, and that takes away all the stringy joy of it.
Where did the other star go then? The waitress seated us without making eye contact, then scuttled off like she’d escaped from a dungeon. I’m not sure what I did to offend her so badly (though it is school holidays and that means showers every 3-4 days), but it was a bizarre display of customer service. Also, every time I’ve been to Bent, at least one of our drinking glasses has been dirty.
The hot chocolate has actual Flake on it though.
Green Eggs and Sam will set you back $18.