Friday, March 26, 2010

Café Vue: To View and Be Viewed

Café Vue
401 St Kilda Road
(near the corner of Toorak Road)

03 9866 8055

Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 7am-11pm; Sat-Sun 8am-11pm

There are few things more trendy in Melbourne than hidden destinations, tiny spaces (for elbow-knocking exclusivity), and The Vue Trinity. I'd love to be Mr Bennett's Ms Darcy.

Café Vue on St Kilda Road eschews the 'little local' hypothesis however - it's big, bright and beautiful. And with the droves of people clamouring to get on board - you can bet she knows it, the saucy minx.

We were seated immediately at 9:45am on a Saturday morning. Menus were brought promptly, with a full bottle of water.

We placed our orders, and my pistachio cupcake was served in seconds (this, unfortunately, marked the end of the day's good service).

It was almost like a pistachio flourless cake - very dense, very nutty, and not too sweet at all. I didn't like the stiff little icing, which was reminiscent of 'strongly-flavoured' pistachio ice-cream. But that's an absolutely personal thing - I've always thought pistachio ice-cream tasted a bit like cough syrup. And I'd definitely order this again, as the icing's easy enough to pry off.

Sit at the bar?

Definitely a place for chic-chat and to lounge about fashionably - my sister's adequate flat white arrived only after 20 minutes, and our food took a good 30-40 from when we first placed our order, so we missed our next appointment. It was also difficult beyond reason to flag someone down to check on our order.

Don't mind if I do.

When it did arrive, however, it was completely flawless.

62° eggs on toast ($9.50 + $3.80 for the white sausage)

My stalwart order - perfectly poached eggs, lemony hollandaise, crisp, chunky toast, and enough spice in the sausage to elevate it from 'something I could get at the supermarket'.

We were a little less impressed with the presentation on my sister's dish.

Spanish eggs en cocotte with tomato fondue & capsicum purée ($9.50)

My secret self-satisfaction at having made the superior order was quickly extinguished however! (Food envy karma will bite you in the bacon.)

The tomato fondue blended with the capsicum purée to produce the freshest tomato 'salsa' I've ever had; there was absolutely nothing ketchupy, pasty or 'processed' about this, just really pure and fresh tomato and capsicum flavours. I unashamedly appropriated copious amounts for my own forkfuls of eggs, sausage and toast - the joys of eating with family!

Bacon for the table, as you do ($3.80)

And I can never go past this - the most perfect little lemon tart, with a meringue dollop only just-crisped on the surface ($4.50). I haven't had any better in Melbourne, and I love them - so tell me if you have!

All in all, you can't fault the food - or the fabulousness of your surroundings. My obvious gripe though would be how s l o w the service really was; in speed and quality! For example, it was a pretty annoying (and ridiculous!) end to the meal when we paid $58.10 exactly for our $38.10 breakfast and received our $20.00 change in coins. (The reason for this being that our $8.10 in small change was ignored completely, and the person processing our order only put the $50.00 note through!) Consequently, we received a mostly-silver pile of coins in our bill tray taller than the tart we'd just consumed! Mind, it took 10 minutes to get our bill, and a further 15 to (poorly) process the payment!

Would I come here again? Probably; I do adore the food, the novelty of sweeping space, and it's conveniently located in the middle of my regular route. But I wouldn't schedule anything else for the rest of the morning.

My advice? Bring lots of reading material if dining alone - plenty of surface area to spread it out on as well!

Café Vue at 401 St Kilda Road on Urbanspoon


  1. Hmmm, I'll have to trust you on the taste because the presentation looks pretty plain. The lemon tart you brought back WAS really good though!

  2. I had the same problem when I went to bills in Sydney. Gorgeous space and food but the wait was killing (although only 20 minutes on a Tuesday 10.30am but we were HUNGRY!). I would really love to try the 62' eggs though. Looks awesome.

  3. I'm still yet to try any of the Vue branches. The food looks good, but the sound of that icing on the cupcake doesn't really appeal. I'm not too fussed if I don't try this place anymore :P

  4. Oh, I LOVE their 62° poached eggs. Shame about the service though. I have eaten there a couple of times and it's never been particularly quick but it wasn't as bad as your experience!

  5. Yes! Totally dig their tomato salsa!

    This place is great, esp the outdoor seating during warm days for brunch.

  6. Eek, the long wait for the food to arrive and the ignorance of the change doesn't sound too good, but I love the look of the place and at least the food was good!

  7. Yunny: I'll take you there sometime and you can decide for yourself! You'll like how pretty it is anyway!

    Kat: Yeah, these 'famous' places are fit for very lazy mornings for sure! I've ALWAYS wanted to go to bills, I'm a real sucker for celebrity chefs.

    Shellie: I quite liked Bistro Vue as well, and I think Cafe Vue makes the most awesome pastries - if you like that sort of thing! Haha, the 'icing on the cake' really was a personal choice, I wouldn't deter anyone from trying it! :)

    Adrian: You've been EVERYWHERE it seems! Food Rehab indeed!

    April: Yeah I get long waits and shoddy service at lots of places with good food now, seems a shame! :(

  8. oh my, I just couldnt go past that pistachio cupcake!! I think its something I would really enjoy. Even the thick icing would have made me happy, pistachio is fantastic and in cupcake form even better!!

  9. I've been here once for dinner...but those eggs you ordered just look amaziiing! I'll have to pop by for breakfast one day!

    And this is certainly one space where I adore the interior, so chic!