Fo0die dined as a guest of Cafe Lafayette and as such, the rating does not give any consideration to customer service.
We arrived at the perfectly positioned waterfront venue on a cold windy Saturday morning via the tram from the CBD. With palm trees lining the streets, it felt like a bit of a suburban getaway and reminded us of Hawaii where we went for our honeymoon.
The three year old venue is located at a corner, underneath Marines apartment complex. The entrance to the venue not actually on Beach Street (as per the address) but actually on top of some stairs on Nott Street.
On Beach Street and Nott Street, four outdoor picnic style bench seats are available, suitable for a group of 6 (these are exposed to the elements). Outdoor seating undercover is also available, located just in front of the entrance; some bar style seats.
The interior is contemporary with geometric hexagon style stools with wooden seats that match with the wooden bench style seats and tables around the venue. The venue’s dining space is an ‘L’ shape around the kitchen, maximising the waterfront and palm tree views while diners are dining.
The food and drink menu is a simple A4 piece of paper in two columns with the usual classic dishes and a section titled, ‘selected brunch around the world’ with each dish marked with a flag to indicate which country the dish has been inspired from. On a separate A5 sized clipboard, the venue’s specials, such as their signature raindrop cakes and monster drinks can be found.
Mr J had he’s usual matcha latte which at $7 seemed a little dear at first but the serving size is roughly 1.5 cups. This arrived with the matcha latte in a separate pouring container with the honey sweetener in its own little glass; something Mr J prefers personally (and apparently others did too as the venue took this feedback from their diners). Mr J enjoyed the nice strong matcha flavour which was almost a little bitter (matcha is from matcha maiden) and combined perfectly with the honey sweetener.
Cafe Lafayette has one of those menus where as a foodie, you would want to try everything but we managed to narrow down to two dishes from the ‘selected brunch around the world’ section which we ended up sharing because we both didn’t want to miss out on the other dish (haha). Marked with the Japanese flag on the menu, the salmon and soba bowl was a cold dish with the perfect balance of the various flavours in the dish, all working in harmony with each other. Cabbage was slightly chilli giving it a nice little kick which paired nicely with the sesame, garlic and peanut sauce and lightly seared salmon.
The sauteed mushroom dish was marked with an Italian flag and came out beautifully presented with sunny side up eggs in the centre and the mushrooms arranged like a wreath around it. Well seasoned with roasted potatoes (wished there was more of these!) and lean pieces of bacon scattered throughout the wreath of mushrooms.
Both dishes were a good portion size; definitely did not feel the urge to have a third dish even though we wanted to try their matcha french toast!
Naturally we had to try their signature raindrop cakes which we justified as being ‘light’ given they were raindrops. The venue was the first in Melbourne to come out with these back in the day and I had originally added them onto my list of places that I must visit after seeing these. While these are definitely not cake-like at all, the clear flavourless jelly went nicely with the sauce and crumble to give it the intended flavour.
With such a diverse menu to cater for both the classic breakfast goers and those looking for a little more, Cafe Lafayette is the perfect place to bring family and friends. And soon, you’ll be able to go to their new Prahran location.
Dishes that make up this review
- Salmon and soba bowl; sauced buckwheat noodle with sesame paste, garlic and peanut, served with chilli, caramel lemon, cabbage, cucumber, soy egg and spring onion ($26.80) + fresh avocado ($5)
- Sauteed mushroom with potato, bacon pieces, spinach and garlic, fried eggs, cherry tomato and parmesan ($18.80)
- Angel kiss (rose) raindrop cake ($9)
- Matcha lover raindrop cake ($9)
- Mocha ($4.50)
- Matcha latte ($7)