In Melbourne the label Tommy Collins, the company name of business partners Ben Avramides, Simon Winfield and Tommy McIntosh, is synonymous with catering, events and, more recently, stylish cafes. The latest is this expansive opening that combines bakery and eatery in an upmarket suburb by Port Phillip Bay.
The sleek, elegant design, by local firm Ewart Leaf, features raw timber, subway tiles, clean lines with a window looking into the bakery, and seating for 100 either in banquettes or at a counter. The doors open at 6:30am, with bakers – trained by British-born pastry chef Matt Forbes across town at Cobb Lane – cooking up fresh bread and pastries throughout the day as supplies run out. And do they know what they’re doing, with a variety of loaves coming out of the five-deck oven, as well as sweet treats like peanut butter and marshmallow cookies, all manner of fruit danishes and lemon meringue donuts.
The offerings aren’t all from the oven, though. Locals have taken to the brunch dishes that range from the staples (bircher museli, French toast with roasted mushrooms and baked ricotta) right through to more innovative dishes like ricotta hotcakes with poached pear, sesame sheep’s milk yoghurt and raspberry crisps, or crisp potato skins with prosciutto, spinach and a poached egg.
At the moment, the Hamptons is open until 5pm every day, but with a liquor license in the works, there are plans to open for low-key dinners, including oven-cooked pizza.