Rowena Parade Corner Store
THERE'S a flake of pastry on my desk. It's a bit like the colour of toast on one side and pale cream on the other. It is surrounded by crumbs of the same hue. It came from a spanakopita that I didn't want to eat but, needless to say, I did.
Otherwise, the opening line today would have been "There's a dried-out slab of spanakopita on my desk and I don't want to eat it", which, as any of you who have studied the 20th-century novel would know, is a far better beginning and one used to devastating effect by J. K. Rowling, David Sedaris, and Ian Fleming in his 007 Sheets of Filo Pastry.
I didn't want to eat it because it was flat and a little doughy on the bottom. I ate it because the filling of cheese and leafy greens was fine. It was made by a real Greek mum, which usually makes everything taste better, and - quite frankly - I am greedy.
Leave a bowl of congealed lard and some grissini next to me in the morning and before Andrew O'Keefe can welcome you to the Dealadrome, they'll be gone.
I bought it from the Rowena Parade Corner Store, which has been serving the community in that bit of Richmond between Lennox Street and Punt Road with ciggies, milk and other essentials for 53 years.
Owner Con Coustas rebuilt much of that vintage charm that had been ripped out over the years, such as the old "staff only"step ladder for getting provisions off high shelves and a little bell by the counter that comes with a stern warning not to ring it. In the process, he has created one of Melbourne's most interesting cafe interiors, with retro kitchen furniture against tables and shelves of reclaimed wood. All that, plus a fine range of lollies and a choice of 11 varieties of plain milk, shows he takes the place's heritage seriously.
I also love the long box-bench seats along the open windows that are perfect for work-bound types stopping in for a coffee. (Tip for a better life #93: To those people I say, leave home five minutes earlier and have your coffee from glass or china sitting here rather than sipped from cardboard on the go.)
Their Greek yoghurt in a breakfast trifle with saucy fresh berries and a homemade granola loaded with nuts and seeds is a great start to the day.
Other recommendations would be their ever-evolving work with the BLT, which reaches its zenith with the BELTAC (bacon, egg, loads of crunchy iceberg lettuce, tomato, avocado and melted cheese in a slab of Turkish bread).
Braised lima beans or wide strips of red capsicum in a tomato sauce flecked with ricotta are other Greek lunch options and proof that Rowena Parade actually has a chef in the kitchen. That, too, should be applauded.
Where 44 Rowena Parade, Richmond, 9421 3262
Open Mon-Thurs, 7.30am-7pm; Fri 7.30am-6.30pm; Sat and Sun 8am-6pm
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⊜ 44 Rowena Pde Richmond | Map
✆ 9421 3262
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