As I mentioned in my Melbourne Food Diary, there are so many fabulous cafes and restaurants that have hit the eating spot scene since I moved from here, over two years ago. Penta Elsternwick is one of these places.
From the moment I spotted their lush food paradise on Instagram, I knew I had to come and experience their vibrant, plate perfect dishes. With their food images curated so wonderfully and their super cool branding (you know I always can’t help but judge a book by it’s cover when it comes to branding), I had high expectations for Penta.
So thankfully I wasn’t disappointed.
Here’s my review.
Minimalistic space, trendy warehouse feel, concrete jungle, retro vibes, calm, peaceful and relaxing, friendly.
These aren’t particularly the words you’d tend to see teamed together while describing the one place, but amazingly Penta nails all of these things. The space isn’t overly fancy, with exposed white pipes on the roof, brown wooden tables, big stone benches converted for seating, a few green plants, all surrounded by plain grey concrete walls.
It’s minimalistic perfection, and funnily enough makes you feel really calm. There’s nothing in the space to really excite you senses, apart from the food. Which for me, is really cool. Penta has realised you don’t need to go crazy on the decoration, when you can decorate with what’s on the plate. Pretty genius concept if you ask me.
Now for the reason I said friendly. As soon as we walked in we were greeted with smiles and helpful staff, which made us feel comfortable and relaxed – a major tick in my dining out book! I love friendly staff!
What we ordered:
I’m always thinking about what will look good in a photo, but at Penta, you really don’t need to worry about that. EVERYTHING looks good. After our umming and ahhing for a bit and having already nearly finished our almond milk cappuccinos / golden lattes, one of the waiters came over to help us choose. She knew exactly what would look good in our photos and ensured us our food choices would be mouthwateringly delicious!
Breakfast bowl – This was the most delicious savoury breakfast bowl I think I’ve ever tasted. Jam packed with healthy nutrients the bowl included quinoa, kale, cherry tomatoes, avocado, haloumi, smoked yoghurt and pita chips (which we so damn tasty!). Although it’s called a breakfast bowl, this dish would be the perfect for any time of the day. The flavours went together like cheese and wine, they were that good. It really was goodness in a bowl.
Herb & Feta Smashed Avocado – Smashed avo is a typical dish your brunch always needs. Penta’s variety of smashed avo includes herb and feta avocado, tomatoes, black sesame seeds, radish and chilli on dark rye bread. It was fresh, tasty, creamy, light but filling – Smashed avo done oh so right!
Chia Beetroot Pudding – After we had goodness in a bowl with the breakfast bowl, it was now time for sweet heaven in a bowl with the chia beetroot pudding. We were a little unsure about ordering this dish and kept tossing up between it and the granola bowl, but as my photographer is vegan, and we didn’t want her to go hungry, pudding it was, and MY GOSH, we were so happy we ordered it.
Prettiness in a bowl is the best way to describe this yummy dish of a thing. Served with the chia and beetroot pudding was buckwheat granola (which we were all dying over, I don’t know how they make this but it was incredible. Chocolatey, nutty, sweet but not too sweet, all in one), COYO, passionfruit, kiwi, strawberry and watermelon jerky (who knew there was such thing as watermelon jerky?! So interesting!).
Beetroot Smoothie – A bright raspberry-coloured smoothie, you would be mistaken to think this drink is super sweet and berry-licious, but surprisingly it’s not. Although the beetroot smoothie does contain (generally sweet) berries and orange juice, the granola, yoghurt and of course, the hero ingredient, beetroot, creates a fresh, savoury and light combination.
Green Smoothie – When picking a smoothie, green smoothies are always my go-to. I just love how healthy they make you feel. They say green smoothies are alkalising for your body, so I always like to think I’m giving my body an extra vitamin boost when I’m drinking them. Penta’s green smoothie is a little different to the typical ‘all-veg with a bit of apple’ green smoothie, and consists of kale, peaches, mango, ginger, honey and coconut water.
Mango Smoothie – Hello tropicana! With a sip of Penta’s mango smoothie, you feel like you’ve been taken to a tropical island! It consists of mango (obvs!), coconut milk, yoghurt and honey, and it sure is yummy!
An extra thing I loved:
If you are vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, nut free, there are so many options for you at Penta. They can alter nearly all dishes to suit you preference. Talk about flexible eating! The also have a variety of alternative milks to choose from, and sooo many different hot drinks – prana chai, cold brew coffee, cold drip coffee, matcha. If wine, beer or cider is what you’re after, they have them too.
Penta certainly lived up to my expectations, and actually exceeded them. I loved the minimalistic vibe of the cafe, and the food and drinks not only looked good, they tasted amazing. We left the cafe feeling happy, full, but not too full, and feeling super healthy!
Penta is located 28 Riddell Parade, Elsternwick, Victoria 3185
Photography: Veronica Lelek
Editor’s note: Thanks to Penta for inviting us to lunch, it was delicious!