If you’re heading toward Edithvale, you might consider turning right at Governor Road. Amid a vast expanse of paddocks and wetlands is one of those constructed communities you see on the telly (you know the ones, where people always walk hand-in-hand and there are literally four hundred bike paths) – Waterways. I had never been there, because the only way to stumble upon it accidentally is to drive from Dandenong to Mordialloc, and how many people do that?
Nest @ Waterways is a popular place, and it’s easy to see why. It’s not just that it’s the only cafe in a several kilometre radius – it has a genuinely pretty outlook, like an oasis in a desert of semi-rural nowheres. And it is popular. On the morning that I visited, the carpark was overflowing and people were having mild bitch fights. Take note kids: friends don’t let friends double park.
Nest is a funny mixture of waterfront cafe and surf lifesaving club. It has a spread of tasty looking cakes and a proper barista, but one must order at the counter and collect their own drink from the Coca-Cola provided fridge. I don’t know that it quite knows what it is. There’s nothing about the menu that stands out particularly, save for their “famous” raisin toast (quotation marks theirs). In this neck of the woods, your options are generally Eggs Benedict (or a quirky spin on them involving the cafe’s name), pancakes, muesli or a big breakfast. The bigger the better.
I ordered Eggs Benedict with an avocado side and a bottled pineapple juice. I won’t make any derogatory comments about the staff, save to mention that subtracting $1.30 from $15.00 probably shouldn’t require a calculator. And then require me to give over more money because it makes it easier to do the sums. And then have to figure out the change myself, leaning over the counter. Other than that, the ordering process was standard.
The ambiance was the kind of nice-but-crowded-with-noisy-people that so many of these places have. People sat in big groups and gossiped at length about cousin Lydia’s homebirth and Did You See That Article in the Herald Sun? It was lively. And because the morning was cold and wet, things were enclosed with thick plastic, and I must tell you that it’s not much good at absorbing sound or alleviating sweaty armpits.
My food arrived quickly, and it was huge. Instead of inner city portion sizes, I received two gigantic emu eggs, three pieces of turkish bread with butter, almost an entire avocado and no less than half a piglet. Rather than pouring hollandaise on, they just gave me the jar and a large spoon*. The bread tasted like a bog standard supermarket variety, the avocado was firm but ripe and the ham was warmed. The eggs, though, were really beautiful (at least, the bits I could see through the hollandaise looked beautiful). Perhaps out in Waterways they source their eggs from local farms? They were so orange and so enormous that I just picked them up with my hands and shoved them in my eyes (they were even better up close).
On the whole, Nest’s offerings were no more or less exceptional than any of these outer south-eastern cafes. The food was pretty good, the service was average, the view was sparkly. If you happen to find yourself driving past, it’s worth pulling away from the main road for a quick bite and a spell by the water.
* not true, but either way there was bloody heaps!