Next time you’re looking for a quaint daytrip, hop on the Belgrave or Lilydale train line to Mont Albert.
Just 30 minutes’ train ride from the city centre, Mont Albert is waiting to delight. Despite being a relatively small suburb, its smiling, multicultural mix of locals will greet you and make you feel instantly at home.
Glide on into Mont Albert Train Station and make a beeline to Hamilton Street, the heart of this thriving village. Arrive with an empty stomach, because the street — the main thoroughfare between Mont Albert Station and bustling Mont Albert Road — is full of cafes and restaurants all competing in a friendly rivalry to nourish your belly and your soul.
Since 2002, David Winter’s Bread Street Bakery has been producing freshly-baked bread, pastries and cakes for the locals of Mont Albert (and the odd visitor or three). Open from 6am almost every day of the year, they are purists in every sense of the word. Wrap your hands around a traditionally-baked sourdough, a fragrant Turkish pizza, a 100% rye loaf or a melt-in-your-mouth boiled bagel. Get in as early as you can for the widest range of tasty treats. What’s more, the folks at Bread Street are some of the nicest you’ll meet during your visit to Mont Albert. They proudly support many local sporting clubs, schools and community organisations, and are sure to make you feel like one of the family when they greet you at the counter.
If you’re in the mood for something a bit more wholesome, Hamilton Street is home to plenty of cafes sure to satisfy a lunchtime craving. Arguably the pick of the bunch is Mason Lane Café, their Ultimate Brekky Burger a crowd favourite. Wash it down with a Cortado coffee or fruit-filled smoothie from a window seat as the locals stroll by.
For a late-afternoon/early-evening visit, Mont Albert Village stays awake with spots catering to discerning diners. One of the best is Cantina Centrale, an Italian spot pumping out pizzas, pastas and some of the most mouth-watering desserts this side of Naples. Start your meal with Spiedino di Pesce — salmon and lemon skewers in a light sesame dressing — then try your hand at a La Massiccio pizza of pancetta, potatoes, sautéed onions, fior di latte, parmigiano and rosemary. If you’re open to suggestion, go with the chef’s special; market-fresh fish or wood fire oven-roasted meat, poultry or game. Finish it off with possibly the best tiramisu in Melbourne and you’ve found yourself a winner.
If you’re in Mont Albert with the kids — it’s a destination perfectly-suited for a family day trip — and need somewhere to work off all that food, head over to Kingsley Gardens, where they can make the most of an all-ages playground. Bring a footy or a picnic blanket and make the most of the green lawns. Catch up with friends, meet some locals, or simply take a stroll through the idyllic scene before taking the scenic route back to Mont Albert Station.