A beautiful piece of Melbourne’s history and architecture is currently undergoing a loving mix of restoration and renovation in preparation for its grand re-opening this century. A spacious section of the old Denton Mills Hat Factory, established in Abbotsford in 1888, is the newest site for Nathan, Sarah, Diamond and Ben’s cafe — Three Bags Full.

Yep, that’s certainly a mouthful and it does sound like a lot of owners, but I really couldn’t imagine it any other way. This quartet first crossed paths at APTE in Alphington and they’ve been inseparable ever since. It was only a matter of time before they joined forces to create this dream team. Each one of them brings something unique and valuable to the business, with one common factor — they are ridiculously passionate and enthusiastic about EVERYTHING they do! Giddy at the best of times, they’re always up for a laugh, and their general day to day vibe is a huge part of their success.

What can you expect? Food, coffee and ambience — none taking priority over the other, with energy and passion invested heavily in each element. Nathan Toleman has a real eye for design. The heritage listed building is breathtaking from the get go and selecting this site was obviously a key part of his vision. Look out for his very own lighting creations, made from scrap metal, as well as an enviable array of colourful, impossible-to-find, vintage pre-loved Tolix chairs. The piece de resistance will no doubt be the 4m long table made from a ten pin bowling lane, with accompanying stools created from old street signs. Lots of recycled timber and minimalistic décor help to encapsulate the heritage building’s sense of history and space. An extra special feature is the old 1930’s Melbourne Cup tipping graffiti that has been saved and beautifully honoured.

While all the Three Bags Full crew have stylish and creative input into each menu item, Sarah Foletta is the mastermind behind the kitchen. Sarah has earned a following of countless customers whose mouths water in anticipation of her culinary delights. The focus is on fresh, healthy, homemade produce, with as much as possible made on site, including things like muesli, pestos, relishes, jams, cakes and chocolates — all the good stuff! There will be some old favourites, like Sarah’s banana bread and ricotta hot cakes as well as traditional dishes including a big and a veggie breakfast. Without giving too much away, look out for the leek pikelet and smoked trout as well as the cauliflower fritter with an extremely tasty cheese cransky, yum!

Diamond and Ben bring a lot of life, passion and laughter into the business. They lure in customers and keep staff around with their uncanny ability to manage and nourish a healthy café environment. Ben is building a team of highly skilled baristas, led by his mate, Jamie Thompson, who is very serious about his coffee.

They have not missed a beat and with the hardware being installed next week, you won’t either. I don’t want to give too much away and spoil the surprise, so you’ll just have to wait and see. Let’s just say there is another Clover in our midst!

The best thing about Three Bags Full is that when you sit down and enjoy your experience you can know that Nathan, Sarah, Ben and Diamond have created it all, every last detail. Everything is a result of their vision and they have worked hard, the old fashioned way — with a paint roller, hammers and plenty of blood, sweat and tears — even a couple of unexpected stitches!

Three Bags Full
Corner of Nicholson St and
Mollison St, Abbotsford.

Opening hours
Monday — Friday 7am — 4.30pm
Saturday — Sunday 8:00am — 4:30pm


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