263-265 Carlisle St, Balaclava, VIC
(03) 9527 8940
When Greg and Georgia Poliwodzinski returned from a month’s holiday two years ago, they were all set to buy their first home. And then, at the last minute, they decided to take a gamble and invest their money in a business instead, buying Treehouse Lounge.
The gamble paid off: two years later, Treehouse is a bustling lounge cafe and bar, offering Balaclava locals a spot to eat and drink well, regardless of the time of day.
The husband-and-wife team boast a combined 25 years’ experience in hospitality. Starting out at the age of 18, Georgia was immersed in the world of bars and clubs, managing Baroq House and completing a stint at Hamilton Island. Meanwhile, Greg has built his reputation as a jack of many trades, previously owning a cafe but also spending a year as a tradie. These days he works in the kitchen, partnering with Head Chef, Simon Oakenfull, to present a creative menu full of signature dishes. Georgia looks after front of house and marketing, and is joined by Daniel Harrington and James Traugo to ensure this ship sails smoothly.
Open from breakfast to well a er the sun sets, Treehouse is a cafe by day and cocktail and tapas bar by night. No matter the time of day, Greg, Simon and their kitchen team of Javan Reiners, Jordan Allanson, Dipak Adhikari and Chih Mao Kao turn out dishes that let the local produce shine. The eggs are all free- range, coming from Australian Family Farms, while quality Australian farmers supply the meats, and fruit and vegetables come from a nearby small business.
Taste, touch, smell and see their handiwork in the all-day and dinner menus. If you’re up bright and early, try the hotcakes with passionfruit curd, salted caramel, vanilla bean mascarpone, ginger nut crumble and roasted almonds, or the sweet potato rosti stack with smoked salmon or bacon, a poached egg, horseradish hollandaise, avocado and rocket.
Come lunch, the menu expands, with a kale and green bean salad complete with pearl barley, roasted almonds, broccoli, black grapes, labne, za’atar and a poached egg, appearing above the Wagyu brioche burger served with iceberg le uce, tomato, pickles, cheddar cheese, aioli, American mustard and ketchup.
When the clock strikes 5, take your coffee in a martini glass. With six different types of espresso martinis on offer, there’s no excuse not to order one. If caffeine isn’t up your alley, there are another 44 cocktails to try, as well as a range of beers and wines. The grazing menu looks after everyone’s rumbling stomachs, with plates such as saganaki, eggplant chips and slow-cooked lamb tacos on offer.
The fantastic fare and decadent drinks aren’t the only spectacle at Treehouse. Taking its name literally, the space emphasises wooden elements, with a feature wall of recycled pallets and a centrepiece table, made by a friend specifically for the venue. With plenty of hidden nooks for you to relax and rejuvenate, as well as a private dining room appropriately named the Cubby House, it’s the perfect spot for every occasion.