The Yarra Valley may be best known for its many restaurants and wineries, but My Little Kitchen in Healesville makes sure the region’s locals and visitors can have a great café and coffee experience too.
“What we’ve tried to do since opening is create something a little more urban than what has generally been out here,” says owner Ben Arnold. “We steer away from that country feel of pies, sausage rolls, and cabinet food and offer a substantial à la carte menu.”
My Little Kitchen blends the classic visage and framework of its 120-year-old building with modern and graffiti detailing, creating a unique atmosphere that’s inviting to many different types of people. Ben and his wife chose the name My Little Kitchen for the same effect.
“We wanted something that represented our space and would not alienate anyone. Quite a broad group of people is attracted to the name, from your grandmothers to your hipsters,” Ben says.
My Little Kitchen serves the Brunswick blend from Toby’s Estate as its house blend alongside rotating single origins. Ben says Brunswick fits with many people’s coffee preferences as it’s bold, sweet and structured with delicious flavours of caramel, hazelnut and praline.
“There’s 15 cafés in the area, so we wanted something that would fit in nicely in terms of flavour profile, but it also has to stand up against the competitors in the area,” he says.
“Toby’s Estate have been huge supporters of ours. They’re amazing with training and education and the support provided during COVID was excellent.”
When Victoria first went into lockdown last March, My Little Kitchen pivoted from coffee to groceries. During the second shutdown, the café launched its own delivery service keeping customers around Healesville fed and caffeinated.
“That was insane. We were trading over takeaway and delivery as well, if not better, than pre-COVID numbers,” Ben says. “We’ve heavily focused on our community and through COVID, we spent a lot of time producing meals for a local charity. Over six weeks we sent out about 600 meals.”
Over the period, My Little Kitchen also got licenced to serve alcohol and now carries a selection from local suppliers.
“We’re pushing into more wine friendly food and launched a tapas menu with 10 items all under the $15 mark and encourage people to have a beer or wine with lunch,” Ben says.
Highlights on the My Little Kitchen menu include the zucchini and mint fritters, served with grilled halloumi, baba ghanoush, dukkah, mojo verde, and garden shoots.
“At the moment, we’ve got a really cool play on a chicken souvlaki,” Ben says. “It’s a spiced chicken kofta, served on a housemade flatbread with hummus and a Tunisian carrot salad.”
Before opening My Little Kitchen near the end of 2018, Ben and his wife spent a long time finding the right place to bring their vision to life.
“This site used to be a live music venue – I had my 28th and 30th birthdays here – and it was up for lease, so we basically converted a bar into a café,” Ben says.
“Number two is on the cards, and again, we’re just waiting for the right space.”
My Little Kitchen
274 Maroondah Highway, Healesville, Victoria, 3777
Open seven days 8am to 3pm
(03) 5611 3686