this canteen and modern-day milk bar in brunswick really surprised me… in a good way! jack horner’s canteen, where the selection of dishes change everyday, is beautifully presented along the back of the large space which is smartly decorated with wooden stools + tables and a large coffee/serving bar along the right-hand wall. chef matt wilkinson (pope joan + hams and bacon) and business partner ben foster have also added a small grocer to the space at jack horner – featuring everyday items including fresh bread and milk, cheeses + a few shelves of gourmet or organic ingredients.
unsure of how the whole canteen format would work (i was picturing lining up with my tray waiting for a spoonful of food to be served a la american-high-school)… i grabbed a table with a slight bit of trepidation. however, a quick chat with the friendly waitstaff and my worries were pushed aside when i was informed that it is in fact full table-service… with the lovely staff running me through the selection of dishes on offer today which included a range of ‘hot pots’ and salads.
the rest of the menu is consistent – with a selection of all day breakfast dishes, sandwiches + jaffles, all press coffee, juices + smoothies and even a kids menu on offer. so no ‘pot luck’ as such… i was actually in total control of my meal choice… phew!
as it was a rather warm day, we started with some cold drinks including a refreshing iced coffee made with allpress + the smoothie of the day which was a citrusy marmalade smoothie. for an afternoon pep-up i also went with a lovely chai latte. not as spicy as i usually like, but still enjoyable.
my menu selection started with a bolognese jaffle. the flavour was lovely and cheesy, but it could’ve done with a more generous hand on the filling.
from the canteen i opted for a couple of the salads on offer – a beautiful carrot salad that had me drooling; and a roasted beet + spinach salad – both perfectly summery.
from the pot i went with a spicy mexican bean mix – with hints of smoky paprika, chilli, caramelised onions, a lovely tomato sauce base + a dollop of sour cream on top… a filling and delicious vegetarian dish.
the space itself is also excellent – very spacious and great to open up a laptop and get some work done. socialising would be equally as good though, with a large wrap-around outdoor eating area… an advantage of the cafe being on a corner property. overall, the food left me pleasantly surprised. one of the advantages of the rotating dishes on offer through the canteen format is that every day you know that you’re getting fresh ingredients made using seasonal produce. genuinely delicious food, with the added bonus of being able to grab some groceries before heading home.
verdict: this canteen and modern-day milk bar in brunswick really surprised me… in a good way!
(note: inlovewithbrunch dined as a guest of jack horner, however all remarks and reviews are honest and genuine)