Sleepy’s Cafe And Wine Bar, Carlton North

MELBOURNE | Sleepy’s Cafe and Wine Bar is one of those venues that Melbourne does so well. It’s the kind of place that slips under the radar, but is beloved by locals and those who know what’s up, it’s the kind of place that you take people from out of town to when you want to give them an example of what makes eating and drinking in Melbourne so great.

Sleepy’s is a cafe by day, wine bar by night in Carlton North, headed up by Sydneysider turned Melburnian Steve Chan. It’s a place where Steve, who only started cooking professionally in 2022, throws out the rule book, creating food that is part ‘very now’ and part informed by his Shanghainese and Cantonese heritage. The result is Modern Australian-Chinese food that’s exciting and delicious.

During the day, you might find a toastie filled with mi goreng noodles and cheese, or breakfast congee with assorted toppings and chilli oil. Perhaps breakfast dumplings, filled with bacon, egg, and chives, topped with chilli oil, is more your thing. To drink, there’s a full selection of espresso and filter based coffee, along with juice, tea, and a few other things.

At night Sleepy’s transitions into wine bar mode, and the offering is switched up. There’s reasonably priced wines, about half of which are available by the glass, on a list that leans local and funky. Cocktails riff on the classics, and beers are crafty and local.

The dinner menu a snack-heavy affair that defies categorisation. The ubiquitous anchovy on toast is made with egg and chive, with toast being swapped out for you tiao (Chinese donuts). It’s one of the best things that I’ve eaten this year. Mushroom and cabbage dumplings are intense in flavour, dressed with chilli oil and spring onion. Umami laden Hokkien noodles, laced with doubanjiang, parmesan, and butter, are heavenly.

Sleepy’s would be a place worth visiting if it wasn’t doing anything particularly different, thanks to Steve’s genuine kindness and hospitality, and love for the local community. Add his next level food to the mix, and you’ve got a spot that should be high on your list.

Sleepy’s Cafe and Wine Bar

787 Nicholson Street
Carlton North
Victoria 3054

Telephone: 0422 452 288
E-mail: n/a

Mon – Tue: 7:30am to 3:00pm
Wed – Fri: 7:30am to 3:00pm, 5:00pm to 10:00pm
Sat: 8:00am to 3:00pm, 5:00pm to 10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am to 3:00pm



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