Cafe Lafayette, Melbourne CBD

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MELBOURNE | Cafe Lafayette is the new venue from the folks behind Prahran’s Grand Lafayette, and sees the old Restaurant Shik space transformed into a Japanese-ish brunch spot. I was recently invited in to take a look.

The space takes it’s design cues from Melbourne’s night time dining spots rather than its cafes. Cafe Lafayette may be a cafe, but the low lit, dark, neon accented interior evokes more of an after hours vibe. The overall effect is refreshingly different, and thankfully, the background music is played at a level that’s conducive to conversation.

The food, while being Japanese inspired, isn’t traditional Japanese like a lot of what you’ll find at ima Project Cafe, nor was it ever intended to be. Owners Solar Liang and Monique Wu are aiming for more of a fusion of Japanese, Australian, and other flavours here.

One of the signature items, the Bird’s Nest, is a take on okonomiyaki that blends a purple cabbage heavy pancake with yuzy mayonnaise, tonkatsu sauce, fried leek slices, and a 62.5°C egg. It comes served it a way that evokes a bird’s nest. You crack open the egg and mix everything together before enjoying it. I’m a big fan of this one – the flavours are really on point. The only thing I’d change would be to add something crispy to it, perhaps some Hiroshima okonomiyaki style crispy noodles, to add some textural variation, as it’s all quite soft. Still very tasty though.

Another signature item is the Unagi Hot Dog, which sees a soft brioche hot dog bun filled with charcoal grilled unagi (eel), tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette), kale and pickled red onion, topped with crispy shredded kataifi pastry and served with deep-fried nori (seaweed) chips and yuzu mayo. Perhaps a bit heavy on the mayo at the expense of the delicateness of the flavour of the unagi, but very tasty nonetheless.

Other dishes include things like Japanese pasta, matcha French toast, fried chicken and squid ink waffles, and the oh so 2016 raindrop cake.

For drinks, it’s an assortment of lattes, from traditional coffee and matcha, to rainbow and golden. Coffee beans are from Five Senses, and hot chocolate is from chocolate is from Hunted + Gathered. And if you’re so inclined, there is like the raindrop cake, another relic of 2016 on the menu, freakshakes.

I must admit that when I first saw Cafe Lafayette popping up on Instagram I was immediately drawn to it. Countless OMG WOW Instafolks creaming themselves over the same few designed for Instagram dishes usually makes me not want to visit a venue, but there was enough on the menu that piqued my curiosity. I’m glad I visited, and I’d happily return.

Cafe Lafayette

30 Niagara Lane
Melbourne
Victoria 3000
Australia

Telephone: (03) 9670 1888
E-mail: [email protected]
Website

Open
Mon – Fri: 10:00am to 3:00pm
Sat – Sun: 10:00am to 4:00pm

Cafe Lafayette Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Paul
Paul
Paul founded The City Lane back in 2009 as a place to share photos of his travels around Europe with friends and family. The City Lane might have changed quite a lot since those early days but one thing that’s remained constant is Paul’s passion for food, travel and culture, and a desire to photograph and write about his experiences. Paul has a strong inquisitive nature that drives him to look beneath the surface in order to discover what really makes a city and its people tick, and what better way to do this than over a good meal or drink, with a city’s locals, at places that people who live in that city actually frequent. Paul is also a co-host of The Brunswick Beer Collective, a podcast that may or may not actually be about beer.

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