The edible (and other) delights of King St are just a block away. But it’s easy to get distracted with closer café heavyweights like Earl Canteen (luxe, lush sandwiches that have been blogged about extensively – go for the Otway pork belly), SMXL (try a ‘moave’ with your excellent cuppa), and Le Traiteur (a long lunch experience, start with the tomato consommé). If you prefer to go down the road less taken, however, you can’t go past Demi-Tasse. Which is funny, because it is very, very easy to go past Demi-Tasse. This dame’s not much to look at from the outside.
But she’s a Hepburn beauty within, with similar style. Dark wooden panellings with matching furniture, bottled beauties up top, a literally angelic mural, and lush red leather booths.
Though I question whether Hepburn could have maintained her slim physique if she’d frequented a place like this very often. The food here is hearty, homemade, and addictive. And the service is just as warm and lovely.
We make with the meatballs.
A very traditional mix of pork and veal served with tomato sugo and crusty bread ($10.50). I couldn’t think of a better dish for a cold Melbourne day, and even though it’s spring, it’s clear we won’t be in shortage of those anytime soon. The meatballs had great bite, they came apart in juicy chunks and we mopped them up with the bread and sugo.
And I never say no to a house-made pie.
Beef Bourguignon with tomato relish and green salad ($7.50)
It’s always a pleasant surprise to receive a ‘gourmet’ pie in a city café that isn’t manufactured by Boscastle. This was very sizeable, and a bargain for the price. The pastry was delicately layered, and I especially enjoyed the tomato relish, which had a very unusual sweetness and tang reminiscent of chutney. The filling itself was more than decent, though a little dry. If you like your meat meaty, i.e. not indiscernibly minced, it’s definitely the pie for you. Other pie options include vegetable or a very interesting-sounding chicken fricassée.
Or pick something else from its extensive and extensively tempting menu.
Demi-Tasse: petite with plenty of pizzazz. And particularly important if you work in this area: its coffee packs a punch as well.