Gem of the Outer East: A Review of Zest 89, Glen Waverley.

Waffles with stewed rhubarb, pistachios and mascarpone

It used to be hard to find inner-city dining in the outer eastern suburbs. Too often the experience would be substandard, with the service indifferent and the food uninspired. Zest 89 has changed this, and created a niche in the overcrowded but often unsatisfying Glen Waverley cafe scene, delivering delicious food and impeccable service in the comfort of your own suburb.

Zest mocha

I first visited Zest 89 with my boyfriend for dinner, as we had been searching for a place to call our regular in the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne. We decided to give it a try, and I was very impressed. That night, I had a salmon fillet cooked in sweet chilli and lime juice, served with rice and an Asian salad. It was beautiful, and we were very optimistic about our future with Zest 89.After that first time, we revisited Zest 89 to try out their coffee. Again, we had found it quite difficult to find quality coffee in the Glen Waverley area, with many places falling short of what we were looking for. After our first mochas (our usual) here, we were hooked. They are creamy, chocolatey and come with cute little froth work, such as this adorable puppy dog:

After a few lunchtime sessions, we discovered that although Zest 89 can occasionally appear a little pricey, their servings are always incredibly generous. We’ve had a few souvlaki’s and open sandwiches for lunch, which I felt were sometimes a bit dry but were still quite tasty. Another time, I visited Zest 89 with my boyfriend and best friend, and ordered their pumpkin soup spceial. I know pumpkin soup is rather ubiquitous, but have a look anyway:

Pumpkin soup with crusty bread ($8.90)

Generous, no? And tasty too. We have also tried their chicken meatballs, which were delicious and again incredibly generous – one dish is plenty for two people.

Now, you may be wondering about that picture at the beginning of the post. What is that beautiful-looking concoction? I hear you ask. Well, you need to wait no longer. On Sunday, my boyfriend and I were treating ourselves to breakfast (as we so often like to do) at Zest 89. After much careful deliberation, I had decided on ordering the banana bread with stewed rhubarb, honey, mascarpone and pistachios, while he had decided on the bacon, egg and cheese ciabatta with tomato relish. Just after we ordered, one of the waiters came out to tell us they had just run out of banana bread, but if I felt like something sweet, may he recommend the waffles with the same combination of toppings? I ummed and ahhed for a minute, and had another look over the menu. My boyfriend, however, was quite certain that it would be awesome, and I decided to go with the waiter’s recommendation. And wasn’t I glad I did!

My waffles came out and looked like something out of a 3-star Michelin restaurant. They looked incredible! And tasted sublime, too. One woman seated near us had to ask, “what is that? Is that a dessert?” To which I assured her, no, it was a breakfast, and a special one at that. Things tend to work out for a reason, and this was one of those times. The waffles weren’t too big, so I didn’t feel full of dough, but they were beautiful and crispy. The stewed rhubarb was delightful, and there was plenty of it. The rhubarb juice mixed with the honey was a sweet delight, and the mascarpone with pistachios was the icing on the cake. I was in heaven, and was incredibly impressed with Zest 89. They really went above and beyond, and knocked the ball 0ut of the park (for only $10.90).

The service at Zest 89 is also fantastic. Every time we have been there, we are greeted very promptly, even if we sit around the side. Someone always sees us and comes over with water straight away. The waiters are very attentive, always making sure we have ordered and are happy, and after Sunday they have shown that they make killer recommendations, too. It is a delight to eat here, and we feel welcome every time.

My boyfriend’s ciabatta ($12.90) was also delicious, and reminded me just how good bacon and eggs could be. The were rashes and rashes of bacon, two wonderfully runny fried eggs, cheese and yummy homemade relish. When we ran out of relish, we asked one waiter for more and it was brought out in less than a minute. Fabulous. Altogether, this made for a very satisfying breakfast, and we will definitely be back to try more of their menu soon.

Zest 89 is a perfect place to find trendy, delicious inner-city fare in the outer eastern suburbs for a decent price. As I mentioned, some dishes can be a bit pricey, but the lunch and dinner specials have always been tasty, and their breakfasts are clearly fantastic. Their coffee is great – definitely the best I have found out this way. For anyone who is looking for somewhere new to indulge themselves in Glen Waverley, look no further – Zest 89 has you covered.