Cafe Vue @ 401

10/11/2009 07:04:00 PM

Vue wagyu burger with french fries - $15

A text message I received this week during a particularly stressful day at work:

How about breakfast at the new Café Vue on st kilda road? It's shannon bennett's new cafe.

Yes, that sounded perfect for me!

Cafe Vue
401 St Kilda Rd
Melbourne VIC 3004
(03) 9866-8055

I am, of course, aware of Australian super-chef Shannon Bennett, but before today I had never actually visited one of his restaurants or cafes. I know, bad blogger! In fact, I even served him once when I used to work at a cinema. I was all nerdy and excited with my co-workers, "OMG guys Shannon Bennett's here!", to which they responded, "Is that that blonde chick from Neighbours?" DOI!

Anyhoo, after I received that text message, I had a look at their menu online, I thought that Cafe Vue @ 401 would be a good introduction to the Vue empire - casual, well priced and in a convenient location!

Ooh - I couldn't stop staring at the rotating chickens.

We arrived at about 1pm on a Sunday, and it was busy but not too crowded, and we got a table straight away. I really liked the decor - I thought of it as a pleasing mix of classic, Marie Antoinette and Jacques Tati. (And the red tiles in the bathrooms are SOOOO cool!) For some reason there were 3 TV's on one wall playing a looped video of guys cycling in Sydney. I didn't quite get it. Despite the reasonable prices, for some reason the crowd was super-wealthy - Gucci bags, custom-made Adidas trainers and directional haircuts galore. (The crowd reminded me of this ad campaign, hehe).

The pastry cabinet - the cakes looked great; the macarons looked... well... some were ok, many were cracked and uneven. I guess they're better left to the experts. There was also a basket of pastries/danishes etc next to the espresso machine, which looked like they had seen better days.

I ordered a freshly squeezed orange juice, which came in a cute glass bottle.
Orange juice - $4

I'm glad it wasn't me who ordered this latte - apparently it was super, super-strong...
Cafe Latte - $3

... but when we asked for some extra hot milk, it came in a gorgeous little jug!

I was really enamoured with all the plates and cups, and the nice box they brought out containing mismatched cutlery and tomato sauce.

The plates too, were beautiful, and I really, really want a set for my own place! (I had a look online and you can actually purchase them, but they are waaaaay expensive. *Sigh*)

Sandra had the wagyu burger that you see at the top of this post. I snuck a bite (as well as a couple of fries, hehe), and thought it was delicious. It looked a bit small when it came out; but apparently it was very filling and just the right size. I think that is because wagyu is more rich and fatty than normal beef.

I cannot resist a pie.
Chicken and porcini mushroom pie - $11

This pie, sitting atop a small pool of pureed peas and thin jus, looked like a very posh version of that Aussie classic, the pie floater. It was filled with lots of chunky chicken pieces in a salty, savoury sauce. The pastry was less flaky than I am used to for pies, but I enjoyed it all the same, and was quite full by the end.

But not too full for dessert! I was hoping for cannelés, but alas, they were all out. Instead I got a cappuccino and shared Sandra's dessert.

Cappuccino - $3 - Creamy and strong, but not super strong like the latte from earlier.

FYI, they don't have skinny milk here, only organic full-cream or soy. I heard more than one lady near our table order it and act disappointed when they were refused. But seriously, after a wagyu burger, fries, wine and a pastry, you think skinny milk will make a difference?

Raspberry mousse is not the type of dessert I would normally order, but I'm glad we did. It was very light, with a wonderful fresh raspberry taste. The mousse had a thin layer of sponge on the bottom, a pool of intense raspberry sauce on the top, and was coated in what I believe was dried raspberry powder.
Raspberry Mousse - $4.50

The only tiny issue with this dessert was its presentation - it came out on a beautiful plate, with the shell spoon, but was too long to fit on the plate properly, and just sat on an angle. Obviously this wasn't a massive problem, but it just seemed out of place with so much care and cost obviously put into the rest of the cafe's presentation.

I really liked Cafe Vue overall - the food was great and well priced and I loved the decor. The atmosphere was very relaxed and I've already suggested to a few of my friends that we should come here. A great place to while away a sunny day.

Café Vue at 401 on Urbanspoon

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  1. Sandra8:46 PM

    My latte was super strong. It reminded me a lot of the mocha I had at The Lindt Cafe. It made me a bit ill by the end. That is definitely something they need to improve on.

    The burger was delicious and very filling. The meat pattie looked quite small when it came out, but I wouldn't have been able to eat a bigger sized one.

    The raspberry mousse was absolutely delicious. I expected it to be light, but I didn't expect it to be this light. If I wouldn't have felt ill from the coffee (and probably fatty burger) I wouldn't have left you much! lol. Definitely want to go back there!

  2. that roasting spit is amazing, looks more like an old fashioned fireplace than something for roasting chickens!

  3. Too funny! Posting the same day. It would've been funnier had we arrived at the same time! Yes, the place is great and serves as a great intro to the Vue empire.

    It's also a very convenient 10 min walk from me. Help!

  4. Ooh, that seems like a really reasonable price for wagyu. And I LOVE places that have interesting plates and cutlery and such. Looks like a gorgeous cafe!

  5. This place looks much nicer than the one in the city. I wonder if the food is better too!

    Are these photos from your SLR?

  6. Sandra - Yay! Let's go!

    Rosalind - I know, how gorgeous! I couldn't stop staring at it. (They also had a fish in there but it's not in my photo).

    Adrian - I hear that they do delivery if you live on St Kilda road!

    Laura - I want those plates! Lol

    Rilsta - Yup the pics are from my SLR. Still getting used to the settings. I haven't been to the cafe vue in the city but I haven't heard many good things so far!

    xox Sarah

  7. Good to see your SLR is finally getting a workout at restaurants! :P

  8. Looks like a good place to try. I'm loving the sound of that raspberry mousse.



My email address is sarahcooks [at] hotmail [dot] com.