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Self Raised Snack Shoppe, Bexley North review

Self Raised Snack Shoppe in Bexley North is more than just a spin-off from its Carlton sibling, serving specialty dishes such as steak sangers, lemon meringue donuts and prawn rolls with sweet chilli mayonnaise.

Lee Tran Lam

You have queues to thank for the existence of Self Raised Snack Shoppe in Bexley North. Co-owner Huss Rachid was forced to open this kiosk after queues continued to grow at its sister cafe, Self Raised Bread Shoppe in Carlton.

“There were people waiting outside before we opened the doors,” he says.
And when people came in for four-cheese grilled cheese sandwiches, halal-friendly hoagies and choc custard tarts, the lines sometimes stretched 40 yards down the street.

Pizza point Margherita.
Pizza point Margherita. James Brickwood

Some operators may enjoy the buzz created by the constant crowds, but Rachid didn’t want to keep people working – or deter others from visiting. “We just didn’t want to be a hype train,” he says.

So in February – a year after Rachid Self launched Raised Bread Shoppe with sister Amani and business partner Sal Senan – the trio opened this spin-off venture. It’s located near My Mother’s Cousin, the New York-style pizzeria they also run (which is also a queue magnet, by the way).

There’s no overly complicated ten-part mystery as to why their eateries automatically keep filling with crowds: they’re all places that brilliantly reward your appetite.
And while Self Raised Snack Shoppe has opened as a crowd control measure, it’s understandable that lines will also form. After all, it specializes in sandwiches, pastries and other specialties you won’t find in the other café, such as donuts with lemon meringue and prawn rolls with sweet chilli mayo.

Steak sandwich and fries.
Steak sandwich and fries. James Brickwood

There’s also a Snack-Shoppe-only steak sandwich that transforms Rachid’s love of steak and eggs into a portable, ready-to-hand breakfast item: sandwiched between layers of sesame-studded ciabatta layers are slices of well-done Scottish fillet , a spicy hit of chimichurri, mild horseradish mayo and the sunny ooze and frilly flesh of good fried eggs. You may need a few napkins to wipe off
the happy mess that results from dealing with this. Also recommended: combine it with fries that are deeply flavored with Rachid’s favorite flavor. “I was eating salt for a week trying to find the perfect chicken salt,” he says. “I was struggling with blood pressure problems.”

There’s also fluffy Roman-style pizza by the slice, formed from local whole-wheat flour: the margarita is ground in the rich intensity of San Marzano tomatoes and topped with two types of creamy mozzarella from La Stella, a cheesemaker in Auburn.

And while the home-baked goods are usually excellent, the vegetarian focaccia doesn’t hold up so well: It quickly becomes a soggy landslide of pesto-licked artichokes, roasted peppers, arugula and eggplant. A better meat-free flex is a transplant from the original cafe: a grilled sandwich that’s a best-of compilation of melted cheese, with double brie, aged Maffra cheddar, Swiss cheese and mozzarella. It’s a knockout worth upgrading with extra savory mushrooms. At Snack Shoppe you can personalize it even further by loading it with caramelized onions.

Peach Iced Tea and Icy Milo.
Peach Iced Tea and Icy Milo.James Brickwood

Sarah Ghantous, pastry chef at both locations, is responsible for the wonders on the counter. Her panna cotta biscuit is radiantly sunny and the Danish raspberry and strawberry cake is a jackpot of cream and fruit.

The ever-changing rotation means I’m late for the za’atar, haloumi and honey roll, but my sweet tooth is sated with the ice-cold Milo, swirling in the backseat (along with house-made iced tea and lemonade). Have you also put spoonfuls of Milo in after-school drinks? Snack Shoppe’s version is free of the lumps floating in your glass. It has the silky sweetness of liquid chocolate and the sugary jolt youthfully reactivates my adult brain on a tired, gray day. “It’s refreshing and Milo is very Australian,” says Rachid.

Milo was invented in NSW in 1934 by Thomas Mayne and went on to catch on worldwide. The ice-cold Milo served at Snack Shoppe is inspired by Milo dinosaurs that Rachid drank from in Singapore (the drink is named for its gigantic size). It’s been reinterpreted with enthusiasm and, like many things at Self Raised Snack Shoppe, it’s something I’d happily stand in line for.

The accessible

Mood: An open-air kiosk that sells homemade products that are worth a visit: focaccia plates, Roman pizza and beautiful pastries. Find favorites from the sister cafe (and exclusive menu items, too).

Average cost for two: About $40 for two, plus drinks.

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