Local and international flavours come together in Doncaster East, a foodie mecca.
In a suburb where orchards reigned for 120 years after settlement in the 1860s, it’s clear Doncaster East has an attachment to delicious produce. Today you’ll find a strong cafe and community culture imbued throughout the suburb, so naturally your first stop should be Home of Delicacies, a local favourite serving up a delicious selection of fresh salads, soups and baguettes. Portions are generous, but leave room for the decadent cakes and muffins on display. For something more on the hipster side there’s Three Monkeys Place, where the coffee is on point and the menu is seasonal. Tuck into the Kong Tower, a sweet and savoury breakfast platter, in the fern-filled courtyard.
Looking for a spot to roam free? Head to nearby Ruffey Lake Park, where there’s a large pavilion and barbecue area, and a shaded playground with swings and slides. You’ll also find a mix of native bush scrub, pine trees and fruit trees, as well as other play and picnic areas, dotted throughout.
This is a great spot for a leisurely stroll after pounding dough and sprinkling toppings at a traditional pizza masterclass class at Zero 95. Awarded World’s Best Margherita in 2016 for its thin base layered with San Marzano tomatoes, fior di latte mozzarella, basil and parmesan, it’s traditional Italian pizza at its finest, regardless of whether you or one of the chefs are cooking it.
When it comes to dinner time, Doncaster East boasts an eclectic variety of cuisine. For some of the best Indian food in the ’burbs, the family-run Haveli Indian Restaurant, open for more than 25 years, is a top choice for authentic regional dishes. In a cosy, stylish setting, Saporito does Italian pastas and gourmet pizzas from its wood-fired oven. Then there’s the cool but casual Fish & Burger Co, serving up burgers of all descriptions — go all out and try the Triple X, a double beef brisket drenched in melted cheese — as well as gourmet salads, tapas, waffle fries and its signature super shakes.
After an evening of sophistication? The Tender Trap is Doncaster East’s fine-dining institution. The produce is world class and accompanied by a comprehensive wine list. Afterwards, make your way to Black Copper Bar & Grill for cocktails served in mason jars and tunes pumping late into the night.
Doncaster East is dotted with small shopping centres and villages, so there’s plenty of souvenir opportunities. In Tunstall Square, you can’t go past the Donvale Flower Gallery, filled daily with fresh blooms and Australian-made ceramics and jewellery. Nearby Nellie May’s is a haven for vintage clothing and antique knick-knacks. There’s also a beautiful selection of crystals and incense at Simply Natural Therapies, as well as yoga classes and massage treatments. Afterwards, treat yourself at Dolce Mio, a family-run patisserie and gelateria with a delectable selection of slices, pies, gelati and beautiful cakes.
Up the road, Jackson Court hosts a number of independent retailers, specialty shops and eateries. For the perfect take-home tipple, check out Nick’s Wine Merchants for its extensive assortment of beer, wine and spirits, including Australia’s largest whiskey selection, from across the globe.
Just moments away is the wild Currawong Bush Park, where kangaroos, possums, wombats and wallabies roam among the scrub. There are barbecues and picnic tables close to marked trails, some of which have audio guides that can be downloaded from the Manningham Council website. Kids will love the timber sculpture trail, marked with woven and carved depictions of wildlife, nests and cubbies created by local artisans.