Melbourne Food Review: Cafe Vue Cocktail Night, CBD
Last week my baby girl KJ came to town. So where’s better than taking her to the most fabulous cocktail event in town?* Nowhere! The Cafe Vue** Cocktail Night is hosted weekly on a Friday. For $75 over the space of 3 hours, you get the most fabulous cocktails and matching degustation plates from Vue. Bargain, I say!
(scallop linguine with cucumber)
The night started at about 7.30pm when the first cocktail was served (yes, they ran a bit late) and concluded at around 11pm (we left at 10.30 because we were starving) when people cleared off. So you’ll understand, I’m sure, the degradation of the picture quality due to lack of lighting and sobriety.
Our very first cocktail was called Cytrus Pegu, which was Belvedere vodka with err… lots of citrusy, orangey things done to it. The lovely waitstaff did announce every course and explained the logic of each make up of each cocktail. Suffice to say, they thought about it a lot. And we drank a lot. So I’m really sorry I can’t tell you more. What I remembered though was the lemon curd that lined the glass. It was so yummy I attempted to lick it clean. This lovely this little cocktail was served with a perfect little scallop served with buttery linguine and cucumber. Yum. But then we were starving. A tip: get some food in you first. The 5 courses served there were just not sufficient.
(Apple & Chilli Martini)
Our second cocktail of the night was by far the winning horse – the apple and chilli martini. But it wasn’t a normal apple & chilli martini, no, no. They started with 50% alcohol vodka and steep all the yummy flavouring fruits: apple, pear and chilli. It was intensely apple. It was intensely pear. And it was intensely chilli. No, it wasn’t hot at all. But it did taste every bit chilli. No only that, they attempted to turn it into a frozen cocktail by freezing it with liquid nitrogen rather than blending in ice (cos that would be too easy and ‘we would lose too much alcohol concentration’) so as delicious sounding as that sounds, it was lethal at about 50% alcohol. But oh my god it was yummy. They also topped it with deseeded chilli and a slice of dehydrated apple.
(rainbow trout sashimi, smoked salmon mousse and croutons)
To go with the fabulous cocktail, we were served rainbow trout sashimi, smoked salmon mousse and crouton. It was quite good too but when you were enthralled with such a fabulous cocktail, this took the back seat. The poor thing.
Our next up was a pretty little thing called ‘Balsam Sling.’ To be perfectly honest, I couldn’t remember anything other than cranberry juice and vodka (naturally). By now, I have realised that three full strength cocktails are wayyyyy too much for little lightweight me. So I began to off load this to Jacqui, who was the champ for the night. KJ who is even more lightweight than me, had begun to palm off most of her cocktails since cocktail number two to Jacqui.
(the balsam sling being served)
It was served out of this whipping implement thingie – the kind they use to whip cream? Sorry he did tell us what it was called but remember the previous 50% alcohol cocktail? Me neither.
(Confit pork waffle, tomato fondue and gruyère cheese)
This was, in essence, a toasted sandwich. Cafe Vue is rather well known for their toasted sandwich and waffle – they make it an art form. As far as toasted sandwich goes, this one was rather good. But it was definitely the most welcome dish because it seemed the most filling so far. Maya doesn’t eat pork and they forgot and served us four servings anyway so I scored the spare. Maya got something with tuna instead. I was too drunk and Maya was too hungry for photos to be taken. I asked why it was called ‘waffle’ and the waiter had mentioned ‘artistic license.’ Too drunk to argue.
(Black Raspberry Julep)
This was the black raspberry julep. Vodka, obviously. Raspberry stuff. And mint. Let me describe a little bit of my physical condition to you, I had the most terrible hay fever but this point and together with the cocktails, it rendered my nose entirely useless. I couldn’t smell a thing (or taste a thing) But guess what? I could taste the mint and the raspberry in every sip that I took, which was three. I gave up after three because I know I would totally be sick in the toilet, which would have required me to walk through the lovely Bistro Vue, past all the lovely rich people dining there and through to their lovely toilet. So no. That wouldn’t do! I palmed off the rest to Maya, while KJ palmed hers off after one sip to Jacqui. What a champ.
(Ewe’s milk cheese, almond toast, fennel and cherry salad)
The little platter served with the raspberry julep was comprised of ewe’s milk cheese (French and strong, and at the right temperature), almond biscotti (yes they called it toast) with raspberry jelly, and cherry and fennel salad. They were all really yummy especially the salad. But again, having my nose not working full well, I can’t rave more about it. I would have otherwise, I’m sure. But I have to consider the possibility that we were absolutely starving as well. And yes, I was too drunk to notice the flash wasn’t on. I have a little point and shoot. So yes, flash is sometimes mandatory for me. Stop turning your nose up at me, SLR-ers!
(Textures of pistachio)
Unlike the other courses, our dessert arrived first. It was called textures of pistachio. I only vaguely remember one blob to be cold, sweet thingie with almond in it. The other blob was not as cold but much sweeter. The green crunchy bits were sugary pistachio. Yeah. Did you expect a better description? Bad luck!
(Choc Vanilla Martini)
Our last cocktail felt like a bit of a disappointment as everyone was looking forward to it. Description went something along the line of vodka with steeped vanilla seeds and dark chocolate. It was topped off with a cherry that had been submerged in Kirsch, which tasted seriously strong and it was the only thing on the night that tasted seriously strong. I do have a flashed picture but the fact of the matter is, it wasn’t a pretty looking cocktail (that was probably why it was served at 10.30) it was kinda dark muddy brownish with a bit of red. Not pretty. It tasted too sweet to me. None of us liked it very much – and all everyone could think about was dinner/supper at this point.
So we sauntered off to the only placed that seemed to be open at 11pm. Your Thai. I know. Believe me it went down hill from there as we eventually ended up at Charltons. So you know what I mean when I said down hill.
So I guess the question on everyone’s mind would be: was it worth it? Paying $75 for cocktails you couldn’t drink half of and food that still left you hungry? My answer is a resounding ‘Hells yeah!’ We loved it. I’m going back and I’m taking Jacqui with me. What a champ.
I also ran into Fergei from What I Ate Last Night. We both noticed each other taking photos and she asked a lovely waiter whether I ran a blog and the lovely waiter came up and asked me. So I ran up and drunkenly introduced myself. Seriously, I hope I wasn’t being too embarrassing because I really can’t recall what I said to her.
Cafe Vue, Normanby Chambers, 430 Little Collins Street (between Queen & William Streets)
03 9691 3899, Cocktail Night every Friday, reservations essential.