Sunday, March 27, 2011

Basement Cafe, Melbourne CBD by Big Fil

There’s something about Basement Café that really appeals to me. Slightly whimsical and a bit grungy, it’s a casual sort of place where you can get a beer and sandwich for lunch for $13.

I like the way you can sit at the tables on the (artificial) grass watching the passing Lonsdale Street crowd. A bar at the back, pictures of trumpet players hiding behind the pot plants, Billie Holiday and Nancy Sinatra album covers decorating the walls, it’s like a cross between a Brunswick Street Café and a 1960's underground jazz club.

The day's options are written up on a large blackboard on the wall. The dishes we tried were probably typical café standard or slightly better, but to me this isn't what Basement Café is about. Here it’s all about the vibe.

My choice de jour was the homemade sausage roll. The salad was kind of perfunctory and the sausage roll not as good as it should have been. The roll itself was good but it had been overcooked, not yet burnt but getting there. A pity, because a good homemade sausage roll is hard to find in the city. Served with a slightly tangy tomato relish rather than sauce, I'd be willing to give it another go just to find out if mine was an aberration.

Snooze went for the salad with spinach, feta, avocado, pesto and pine nuts. Neither of us are huge fans of pesto but enjoyed what was a generously sized serve. The pine nuts added texture to the dish and the salad wasn't drowned in the pesto to the extent of masking the other flavours. A generous and nice lunchtime option.

While the selection of sweets isn't very wide, to finish lunch off I ordered the chocolate brownie. While I liked the strong chocolate flavour Snooze wasn't such a fan finding it very sweet and a little on the dry side.

Comfortable and a bit different, a good place to visit when you just want to relax. It’s not gourmet food but it’s not too bad either, prices are reasonable and staff came across as friendly and helpful if a little disorganised.

Food - 6.5
Ambience - 8
Service - 7
Price - 6.5

350 La Trobe Street
Melbourne Vic 3000
Tel: (03) 9329 8000

Basement Café on Urbanspoon

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