Saturday, 9 July 2011

Cafe Vue

430 Little Collins St
Melbourne, 3000

The only thing I dislike about brunch is having to get up so very early in the morning, especially during uni holidays. So the brunch had better be pretty darned good for me to crawl out of bed at 8:30 in 4 degree weather. Thankfully, Cafe Vue delivers.

Cafe Vue occupies a small niche on the side of the Normandy Chambers, next to its famous 3 hatted big brother, Vue de Monde. Cafe Vue is often known as ‘the people’s Vue’ due to its affordable prices, without the compromise on quality. One read through the menu had me regretting that we weren’t here for lunch, but thankfully the brunch options looked equally mouth-watering.

Coat Rack, Water, Glass Cabinet of Goodies

There was plenty to catch the eye as we waited for our food to arrive. I’ve always liked the woven tree-like coat stand, but it was the first time I’ve seen the stools of giant corks (this is where I tried to convince Chris that they were magically enlarged corks from Hogwarts, but he didn’t buy it). I also passed some time looking at the flaky pastries sitting under the heat lamp, and the glass cabinet full of goodies, with the cakes and tarts being a very affordable $4.50.

croque-monsieur with Kurobuta ham hock ($8.50)

The first item on our food-radar today was the croque-monsieur with Kurobuta ham hock ($8.50). Whilst waiting for it, we heard the lady at the next table telling the waitress that the sandwich was delicious, but was really quite ugly. When our toasted sandwich arrived at the table, I had to agree with her. The sandwich looked almost burnt, and it was moderate in size at best. But tearing it open, I was surprised to find actual shaved ham hock, as opposed to sliced ham, and the cheese looked promisingly melty and golden. Biting into it revealed what’s possibly the most sophisticated ‘ham and cheese toasty’ I’ve ever had. The previously burnt looking bread turned out to be fantastically crunchy, and the ham had a real smoky, meaty taste to it. And the best part of all? There was no greasy residue after you finish it – I could easily eat two of these.

poached pear with yoghurt, dates and walnuts ($6.50)

I originally expected my poached pear with yoghurt, dates and walnuts ($6.50) to be warm, so I was quite surprised when I bit into a slice of cold pear. Regardless of that though, I really had nothing to complain about. The plating was careful and delicate, and the quality of the ingredients really shines through this simple dish. The pears were sweet and soft, yoghurt creamy, and combined with crunchy walnuts and sweet sticky dates makes a wonderful mouthful, perfect for a light breakfast.

We also tried a pistachio macaron ($2.50) to finish up our meal, but unfortunately, it was dense and flavourless, almost stale. I was surprised with that, as I’ve heard that Cafe Vue makes some of the best macarons around. Maybe I just went on a bad day.

The menu at Cafe Vue is fairly short, but there is plenty to tantalise the tastebuds, both for breakfast and lunch. They also have themed cocktail nights every Friday. Now if only I could hold my liquor...

Rating: 15/20 – quality food at quality prices

Café Vue on Urbanspoon

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