It’s ironic that Salad Sisters in Malvern has won our reader-voted Must Eat Dish of 2018 with chocolate babka French toast – when Jodie Becker and Jackie Kalinski opened in August last year, they named the cafe after their love of salads and the fact that everyone thinks they’re related.
The two could indeed be sisters: they finish each other’s sentences, look similar and went to school together at Mount Scopus (Kalinski stresses that Becker is a few years older, but Becker says she is wiser).
Their teenage kids went to the same kinder, where Becker was cooking at the time.
“We kept saying, ‘we have to do a cafe’, so when we found out Fress was for sale in Caulfield South we went for it,” she says.
The pair had Fress for five years before looking for a new site. Last year, Salad Sisters was a French restaurant with a Korean twist. Now it’s the top spot in the south for a Middle Eastern and Mediterranean-inspired brunch.
“People who come to the cafe every day become your friends and family, because that’s who you see all the time,” says Becker. “I had my 40th birthday when we were at Fress and I remember saying to Jackie, ‘I don’t know who are my friends and who are my customers’.”
The babka French toast was put on the menu after the Salad Sisters decided they needed to up the ante on their challah French toast. Both Salad Sisters come from a Jewish background and admit to having the overfeeding yenta gene.
As for their working relationship, the women complement each other like smoked salmon and cream cheese. They always agree and laugh, a lot. “We’ve influenced each other so much, we’ve morphed into one,” Becker says.
“But you used to be the funny one, and now I am,” Kalinski adds, and their laughter is infectious.
- Salad Sisters \ 11 Station Street, Malvern, 9500 0609.
Congratulations again to our other Must Eat finalists:
- Korean Style Crispy Pork Hock – Lucy Liu Kitchen & Bar (CBD)
- Heirloom Carrots – Bentwood (Fitzroy)
- Choc Waffle Ice-cream Sandwich – District North (Moonee Ponds)
- Tortellini Di Ricotta – Ms. Frankie (Cremorne)
Must Eat 2018 was proudly supported by Doncaster Land Rover.