Illi Hill is a sweet, little café with a nostalgic neighbourhood feel. Converted from an old corner shop, the little details such as the tile work, say vintage, as do the weighing scales hanging from the ceiling that were left behind by the previous owners. And intriguingly behind the counter you will notice a little window way up high, which is where they took little naps between customers! My kids found this a hoot.
The food is made from scratch, so this not a place for those in a hurry – no premade sandwiches in cello here! It’s a place to savour, because the flavours and care put into the dishes is unusual for a café.
Open at 7am and closing a little earlier than other cafes at 3pm, the dishes are “breakfast” in style. There are green eggs scrambled on rye with crushed peas, baby spinach, shallots, sunflower seeds, feta, basil oil and sumac ($15) and variations on omelettes and egg bakes. For the super food set there is a big breakfast salad which is illi’s signature dish, packed with seasonal greens, nuts and grains ($16.50.)
But for those that don’t care about maintaining the body beautiful, there are the ricotta and buttermilk hotcakes, with dark choc, praline, saffron poached pear, orange and saffron glaze and vanilla labneh ($17). For those that can’t tackle a pile of hotcakes there are little Gluten free cakes supplied by ‘Little secret bakehouse’ up at the counter.
And kids aren’t forgotten with the well balanced $7 special, an egg on toast, fresh fruit and a glass of milk or a babycino. You may find it a bit small for a meeting of mums and prams, but there is outdoor seating for those that need to spread out but note that Illi Hill is at an intersection, so you will need to keep an eye out for little speedsters! Illi is a fantastic place for weekend brunches and a calm place to relax on weekdays when the crowds have dispersed.