It was my Bro’s birthday earlier this month, and we took him out for a spontaneous birthday lunch to celebrate.
I have eaten at the St Kilda Road version of Café Vue a couple of times for breakfast/brunch, but have never ordered off their menu de jour. So a a birthday was the perfect excuse for an indulgent Sunday lunch.
I’m not sure why, but the bread at Cafe Vue comes in a bag. Strange, but cute. It was pretty good bread too.
For starters, Alastair had the crab risotto. It looks like glop, but goodness it was delicious, with the rice infused with the sweet flavour and aroma of crab. After one spoon of his risotto, I wanted to swap plates. Too bad he kept an eye on it the whole time!
Bro and I both decided to have the roast quail with classic stuffing. The quail was pleasant, and the nicely piped blob of mashed potato was particularly smooth and creamy.
For mains, Alastair had the braised beef cheek with confit potato. This was a rather generous portion of spoon tender beef. It was delectable, though Alastair struggled to finish it.
Bro and I both had the rotisserie pork with calvados and black sausage. It came with a wee bit of salad and more nicely piped mashed potato. Sigh. This was gorgeous – the pork was flavoursome and moist with super crispy crackling – it was a joy to eat. I almost never cook pork at home, so when I do eat it, it’s nice to have something so lovely. The other bonus was the ratio of crackling vs meat.
We also ordered two sides – fries ($8) and a plate of seasonal vegetables ($9). The fries were excellent – very rustic looking fingers of salty potato.
Sadly though, the seasonal vegetables turned out to be brussels sprouts. Major sadness! They were cooked with lots of butter and bacon, but even Cafe Vue couldn’t make them delicious. No matter what you do to them, brussels sprouts taste like brussels sprouts – it’s a sad fact of life.
Bro and I still ate them (at $9, there was no way we were leaving them!) but Alastair refused to help us. He’s so not a team player. Thanks for helping me choke down the brussels sprouts, Bro!
We decided we wouldn’t have dessert… and then Bro and I caved.
Bro had the chocolate soufflé, which looked light and fluffy.
And I had the yuzu panna cotta. The citrusy yuzu jelly had a very slight bitterness, which helped cut through the rich creaminess of the panna cotta on top. I have to admit I was a bit too full by this stage to totally appreciate it.
For lunch, two courses is $35, or three courses for $45. Dinner is slightly more expensive – two courses for $45 or three courses for $55. I think lunch is amazingly good value (apart from the $9 plate of Brussels sprouts – I’m still sad about it) but there is also a more casual breakfast/lunch menu that is cheaper still.
However, go take another look at the photo of the pork and tell me that’s not worth a slightly more indulgent lunch!
For some more posts on Café Vue at 401, check out these blogs:
401 St Kilda Road
Phone: 03 9866 8055
(Note: they only take bookings for the Menu de Jour)
[googleMap name=”Cafe Vue” width=”600″ height=”300″ directions_to=”false”]401 St Kilda Road, Melbourne[/googleMap]