UCAN Cafe, Altona North Community Library, corner Millers and McArthurs roads, Altona North. Phone: 9391 7929
UCAN Cafe, tucked away in the Altona North Community Library, is a low-key cafe and catering business set up “to provide a career path for those in the community who have a disability”.
The cafe’s siting – wedged between two wings of the building – hardly seems auspicious, but it’s a lovely sunny morning, for once I’m out and about for breakfast and I snag an outdoor seat.
Nor does the cafe itself look anything flash – if you’re looking for a westie new wave hipster vibe, look elsewhere.
Of course, none of that matters to me – I’m far more interested in my first coffee of the day and whether it’ll cut the proverbial mustard.
One very fine cafe latte, slowly enjoyed as I read one of the newspaper thingies for whom I used to work and grabbed with a wave of approval by the librarian in the adjacent and just-opened-for-the-day library.
The cafe does the kind of food it looks like it may do – muffins, wraps, sandwiches and so on.
But there’s a few more substantial items on the menu, which you can check out at the UCAN website.
As well, daily specials of the soup and salad variety are scrawled on the tall glass doors that lead to the outdoor seating area.
My avocado with tomato salsa ($6, top picture) is a light breakfast treat.
I really appreciate the use of a lighter kind of bread – in this case two slices of nicely toasted and slightly chewy casalinga – rather than the sourdough that is usually utilised when avocado comes to breakfast.
The avo slices are perfectly matched with the light salsa that has just the right degree of oiliness and vinegariness.
I summon another cafe latte, which is just as good as the first. Like its predecessor, it’s not that strong but has great depth of flavour and achieves the neat trick of being neither tepid enough to down in a single swallow nor too hot to drink.
I’ve enjoyed my brief visit to this rather surprising but worthwhile Altona hideaway.
UCAN Cafe is open Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 4pm.