Mentone has always seemed to me like the kind of place that should offer you a decent feed, but once you actually peel back the layers it’s really just lunch bars and second hand furniture shops. Being an up-and-coming Bayside suburb it should have a beautiful eatery with eight different kinds of roesti, but it never has, and I’ve struggled to understand just why that is. Do people from Mentone eat at home? Do people from Mentone eat in Beaumaris? Do people from Mentone hate eating? There are so many alternatives.
I had seen The Corner Store at a distance but dismissed it as the kind of suburban shiny-floored-and-glass-cabineted place that would poach its eggs in the microwave, if indeed it offered hot food at all. Because I am lazy I didn’t attempt to find out any more about it via Google, but on about my ninth drive-by I realised just how many people cram themselves inside and threw caution to the wind because Breakfast Renegade.
Let it be known that I am very glad I did. The Corner Store is the gender non-specific sibling of Main Street and Parkers Cafe. The relationship with Main Street is obvious: the menu is almost identical and so is the quality of the food. Its connection to Parkers Cafe is less obvious, but if my maths is right (and it usually is) that makes three breakfasteries from the same folk in the same 2km stretch of Nepean Highway.
In recent weeks I’ve been to Main Street Cafe and ordered their Smashi Tashi. At Main Street, this is an avocado and feta mash with poached eggs and toast, whereas at The Corner Store it’s more of a pureed avocado with goats curd, rocket, poached eggs and blistered cherry tomatoes ($16). You know what? I’m happy with either. If you put an avocado in a blender and then put it on my plate, we are going to be mates, no two ways about it. So that’s what I ordered, but minus the tomatoes because frankly my dad fed me too many when I was a child and if I don’t direct my anger towards the tomatoes then my dad will suffer.
The waiter was such a complete and utter darling that I would have ordered whatever he suggested, but instead of taking advantage of that fact he just let me order what I wanted, so kudos to you, nice waiter. I sat on a long wooden bench and worked in relative peace and quiet, and the sea breeze came up along Balcombe Road and leapt into The Corner Store and the only thing missing was Emma Stone fanning me with leaves made of chocolate.
My food arrived quickly, but not abruptly, and for the most part it was sound of form and rich in flavour. The goats curd was inspired–I think I now prefer it to feta–and the eggs were perfectly cooked. The toast did drop the ball a little: the edges were so burnt that they crumbled into dust when I cut them, but the bread itself was salty and chewy, as good bread should be. A fine effort, for the most part.
I had one pineapple juice that tasted like crushed pineapples, and another that tasted like vodka, so that was a bit weird. I still struggle with bottled juice poured into a glass being $4.50, but unfortunately that’s pretty consistent across the board in this part of town.
Unlike its relatives, The Corner Store is not a cosy nook in which you can play footsies. It is expansive, clean (save for the drink spilled under my table that my thongs kept getting stuck to) and light, with a wee nautical feel. There is extensive outdoor dining and three kinds of indoor dining, so you may find yourself crippled by choice. This was the second time I’d been, and when I sat at the same table as last time the same group of people sat next to me. One of them pointed and said, “Having the eggs again, dear?” so I slapped her and said of course I was, the eggs are amazing.