‘Hospitality chose me’.
Every so often I have the pleasure of meeting café owners who do it for love. It’s something that runs deep. As deep as the oceans crossed by those migrants who made Melbourne their home post world war two. Melissa Glentis is the granddaughter of Greek natives who set sail many decade ago, in hope of a better life. They paved the way for the generations to come, and raised the bar for what being hospitable actually is. I can always tell when a person is speaking from the heart, when tears well in their eyes upon questioning their heritage. It comes as no surprise though. Walking into Dilly Daly in South Yarra, I was immediately stuck by the warmth created by staff members who didn’t hesitate to ask me how my day was. It’s rather ironic that a venue with such a playful name has richness in meaning and significance. Melissa was raised in a family of hospitality veterans; and though she tried her hand at Law and Commerce; she had a calling that could not be denied. From the age of 10, she learnt the value of showing love by feeding the mouths of those around her, and her home was always full of people. It was this environment in which she learnt the art of being hospitable. A dying art, may I add. So today, as the owner of Dilly Daly, Melissa treats every single person who walks through her door, as though they are walking into her living room. It’s a feeling I hold in high regard, and crave daily.
While Dilly Daly may be a play on words, considering the venue is located on Daly Street, it’s also a reflection of Melissa’s prowess in being the Queen of Procrastination. Thankfully, she didn’t stall in her efforts to take the reins at this South Yarra café, and has nurtured what today is a true representation of Melbourne’s café culture. With its clean Scandi design, and fresh brunch menu, Dilly Daly offers a sanctuary for both locals and visitors from afar. Not only are they licensed (with a list of cocktails that include the espresso martini, mimosa, and breakfast martini), but they also do dinner sessions with Chef Petros Dellidis, who offers a 5 course menu featuring seasonal produce sourced from local farmers, and inspired by his Greek heritage.
All day breakfast favourites include the DD choc chip Hotcakes topped with berry syrup , poached pear, and Nutella injection’; and the ‘Stacks on, Rosti’ which are potato Rosti sandwiches filled with smashed avocado and bacon, and topped with poached egg and pico de gallo.
Coffee is sourced from Vertue Coffee Roasters, with the Sabretooth blend for milk based espresso, and rotating singles for black coffee. I was treated to a filter brew using the Peruvian Bosques Verdes, from San Ignacio. This washed lot had sweet plum tones, with green apple acidity. The perfect accompaniment to the Healthy Bowl with a vegan twist, loaded with Edamame, Bok Choy, Cauli Rice, and a tamarind ginger dressing.
Find Dilly Daly at 6c Daly St, South Yarra, open 7 days a week. Say hi to Melissa. You can’t miss her beaming smile from behind the espresso machine.