Camberwell café born in lockdown brings a new concept to the scene by mixing plant-based alternatives and puppy-friendly atmosphere.
Set on the junction where Glen Iris and Camberwell Roads intersect, the 50-seat cafe comes from hospitality professionals Prince Dib and Rachael Schinck. Rachael’s interest in animal law was the catalyst for The Old Garage’s pet-friendly and vegan menu. Aside from dog bowls that protrude from picket fences and ample outdoor seating, profits from every puppy chino sold go towards supporting no-kill animal shelters and sanctuaries like Loki’s Lodge in Derrinal, Victoria.
On the first Saturday of March, The Old Garage celebrated their 1st birthday as they opened in the midst of lockdown; this was the cafe’s first real celebration with the community. To kick things off, Prince cooked up a vegan sausage sizzle using sausages from The Kynd Butcher. The Camberwell café is all about collaborating with like-minded businesses that have the same values as The Old Garage and they raised more than $1K for New Life For Animal Rehoming Center at the party.
Following a fire on the site, which was formerly a video store, the 1950s petrol station has been given a new lease on life. Now, the space has an industrial but welcoming feel thanks to careful restorations that are a nod to the building’s past. Much of the brick and timberwork was restored to its original condition using materials like recycled timber and black steel. Rays of light shine in through the handmade steel window frames, which take up an entire wall and afford diners sitting at the bar seats an outlook of the front courtyard. It’s the prime spot for brunchers and their four-legged besties who can sit beneath yellow-and-white-striped Spanish Marbella umbrellas surrounded by plants and a charming white picket fence. Inside is characterised by custom copper lighting, lofty ceilings, recycled wooden furniture, exposed beams and concrete floors.
Genovese coffee at The Old Garage comes from a custom Sanremo cafe racer machine and locals on the go will appreciate the quick-service coffee window. As for produce, it’s sourced from local markets and ties in with the ethical ethos of The Old Garage. Dib has designed a modular menu, where those who are curious about eating more plant-based foods or who have dietary requirements can easily replace animal products. There are also plenty of gluten-free options.
“We want to provide the same kind of meals that people would have every single day, but a plant-based version, showing them they don’t have to change anything in order to be vegan,” says Schinck. “We can still eat what we want to eat, but if we can live happy and healthy without harming animals, then why wouldn’t we?”
The Old Garage
2A Glen Iris Road, Camberwell VIC 3124
03 9889 2327
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