By Jo Rittey


The Herbert might well be an old auto-repair shop but it feels a little bit country and with its corrugated iron, old bricks and recycled wood, it almost feels like you’re going for coffee in a big old farm shed. The planter boxes filled with flowers and herbs add to the illusion.


In reality, The Herbert is an organic café just across from the Northcote train station. It’s the kind of place where you can overhear people talking about the great space they are in and how this year they are really going to focus on their relationships with others and seek ways to nurture themselves and their friends and you think, yes, that’s what I want to do too. There’s funk soul beats playing and it really is an environment that takes you out of your normal day and allows you to feed both body and soul.


The body side of this is well catered for with a simple but creative menu. If you’re swinging by on your way from the station, there are grab-worthy snacks and treats in the cabinet to go with your Brunswick roasted Padre coffee. But if you’re going to sit a while, and I think you should, then there’s a pretty lush sounding house made granola with coconut chia pudding, a mushroom burger, a smashed chickpea sandwich as well as a few other very tasty sounding items.


There’s a blackboard menu with some pretty rad sounding smoothies, like the vegan avocado and cacao option or the banana and peanut butter. And for the hot days, you can get an icy pole for a dollar. Nice.




41 Arthurton Road, Northcote


Mon – Fri 7am – 3.30pm

Sat 7.30am – 3.30am

Sun 8am – 3.30pm



Jo is a French teacher, a freelance writer and needs good coffee to start her day. Armed with an exotic New Zealand accent and a winning (hopefully) smile, she likes nothing better than roaming the streets of the northside in search of new and old food-related wonders.


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