Aptly named, ‘My Son, Joy’ is a well-lit oasis with vast windows, making joy your default mood. Annabel McKay and Neal White have created this space to share their passion for well-sourced, high quality food and drink, setting them apart from the average Melbourne café. With wine sourced from local Victoria produces, to a beef tartare found in Cape Grim in the rugged North-West Tasmania, everything has been carefully researched and specifically sourced to a deliver a menu that show cases their ideal of optimal nutrition. With Neale’s love for food, combined with Annabelle’s incredible passion for Victorian wine, My Son Joy is the pinnacle of a true Melbourne Dining experience. We sat down with them both to find out more.
Tue – Fri: 7:30am – 3:00
Sat – Sun: 7:30am – 4:00
$ $ $
Annabel: No, Neal is not my son! We get that a lot! Neale’s dad calls him “my son”, and I find that really endearing and beautiful. Annabel means joyful, so its our names put together in a weird wacky way. My Son, Joy.
How has the menu been put together?
Annabel: It’s all very nutrition based so most of the menu is gluten free. And all of the products have been specially sourced. We’ve been really careful. All of our wine is Victorian, it’s all from small producers so you can still taste the winemaker’s hands which is really important to me. And then we’ve also got a selection of gin, which has been fun!
Neil: It’s more of an ethos that runs through the menu. A low-carb, high fat mentality. It’s not so much a diet but more of a lifestyle.
Obviously all of the modern science that is coming out now goes against everything that we have learned over the last 40-50 years. Nutrition has been turned on its head. So the next wave over the next 5-10 years is going to be food focused around this sort of stuff; allergy awareness like gluten free and dairy free meals.
What’s your current view on optimal nutrition?
Neal: I like the idea of high fat. Fats flavor for me, I’m a chef. But they are working out now that all your saturated fats like butter and olive oils and your natural beef fats are all really good for you. They’re not bad for you at all.
What separates you guys from all the other cafes in Melbourne?
Annabel: So it’s not just about coffee, it’s not just about beverage and it’s not just about food, it’s the entire package. It’s almost like, “Welcome into our home, enjoy! Relax! You’re here to have a good time.” I guess that’s the way my brain works.
Neal: The ethos is just really fresh, natural, ethically and well sourced.
Where did you work as a chef before My Son, Joy?
Neale: Back when I was living in the UK I actually worked with Gordon Ramsey, it was a long time ago, before he was famous!
Your bread is delicious, what’s the secret?
Neal: I’ve been making bread for about 18 years. We do house made sourdough bread, which is fermented for 20 hours!
What your favourite meal on the menu?
Annabel: Depends on my mood! Today’s mood I would be smashing the ox tail tartare. Drink wise, it’d be a bottle. I would start with an Aperol spritz. And then I would have a bottle of the Pino Grigo.