Thursday, 25 April 2013

Café Vue 401 St Kilda Road - Any Given Sunday

Being tasked to organise a relaxing yet modest lunch somewhere between Southbank and St Kilda on a mild Sunday afternoon did not pose much of a problem. My reluctance to stagger to Café Vue at 401 St Kilda Road whilst still nursing a sore head and body after an especially big day out previously at Shoya, Eveleigh Bar, Hell of the North and the Gertrude Hotel is what concerned me however in the end after a somewhat lackluster dawdle there, I was able to meet friends and more importantly languish outside and be offered some professional service.

This particular Café Vue (there are five locations in Melbourne) is popular on the weekdays with the St Kilda Road corporate crowd and remains rather calm, cool and collected on the weekends as the uptight sorts have all left the area. What is most oddly appealing for me is the small outdoor dining space on the street. Normally I am not one that likes to dine next to the road however the manicured shrubs shield your eyes from the unsightly automobiles traversing back and forth and it is surprisingly peaceful despite the proximity to the bitumen.

After advising the staff that we were going to not only rest but dine outside, menus were provided. We inquired about the daily three course blackboard special ($55) however opted to start with the special artichoke soup followed by the David Blackmore wagyu beef burger ($19) with crispy bacon and a side of fries. Although the soup could have used a bit more salt, I found it tasty and very appropriate for the mild conditions of the day. Bread is provided so you are not left in distress considering how to suck up the remaining remnants of taste when the bowl is nearly vacant. The wagyu beef burger was much larger than I expected it to be. Being a fan of the Neil Perry waygu beef burger that is available from Rockpool Bar & Grill, I had high expectations and Shannon Bennett's café kitchen met them. What I was impressed with was that the crispy bacon was actually crispy - go figure, and combined with the fries, this dish certainly filled us up. Dirty Granny cider ($7) seemed appropriate over the Peroni ($7.50) that was on tap but in retrospect, I may have erred. The beer would have complimented the David Blackmore beef better however in the end, a bit of alcohol of any sort managed to improve both my mood and constitution and left me wanting more.

When we retreated inside with the intention to purchase macarons from the display cabinet, we decided that we were far too full and it would have been a gluttonous exercise that at least for me was not in the interest of my waist size. I did purchase some fresh bread that is on offer from a basket and took that with me to the bar at the Royce Hotel next door which had the footy  playing and of course ultimately a constant flow of inebriating fluids that are a requirement for watching any given game on a sullen Sunday.

Café Vue
401 St Kilda Rd., Melbourne VIC 3004
(03) 9866 8055
My Rating: 13.25/20
Service: 3.25/5
Ambiance: 3.25/5
Quality: 3.5/5
Value For Money: 3.25/5

Twitter: @epicurean3006
e-mail: epicureanofsouthbank (at) gmail (dot) com

At the time of this post, 72% of the reviewers on Urbanspoon like Café Vue on St Kilda Road.

Café Vue at 401 on Urbanspoon