Friday, September 16, 2011

Q Eleven, South Melbourne by Big Fil

Located just across the road from the South Melbourne market, Q Eleven is a small café rendered even smaller by the number of tables already reserved the morning we visited. However, even in a well served area for good cafes like South Melbourne its somewhere well worth checking out. Punching much harder than you'd expect, Q Eleven is a strong points winner on food, service and fit out.

Style wise Q Eleven is more classic café than modern Melbourne grunge, with lots of light, comfortable seats, some fairly wacky movie posters and bottles as decorations on the wall. Given it is so small you can peer into the spotless kitchen and watch the staff preparing meals. There is also the possibility of dining al fresco with a handful of curb side tables, at least on days with more favourable weather than we had.

The breakfast menu is short but varied with most of the options sounding very interesting. Allowing Snooze to choose first resulted in her picking something I had been considering, an Asian style omelette with BBQ Pork, Viet mint and crunchy bean shoot salad. My experience with pork omelettes is that they are often used as a means of disposing of no longer quite fresh pork. However, the pork here was fresh enough to almost squeal when eaten and the potentially quite heavily flavoured dish given considerable zest through the use of the bean sprouts and mint. Texture was added through the sprinkling of fried shallots over the top and while Snooze found the combination of pork and egg a filling breakfast I thought the serving size pretty much spot on.

With my number one choice chosen I went for the quinoa porridge with strawberries, agave, toasted almonds and full cream milk. Quinoa (pronounced something like kwin-wha) is one of the new so-called super foods and it gives me a glowing feeling of moral superiority when I order it. It was also something I enjoyed eating a lot on a cold and wet day, not as interestingly flavoured or textured as the omelette but comforting and warming. I always think a good porridge is like curling up in a favourite blanket, and this version left me feeling snug and secure.

Surprisingly the only thing we ordered that I didn't like so much was the almond croissant. Given that these aren't house made but sourced from Dench I had high expectations. Unfortunately, and I can't guarantee this was the case, it didn't feel like it had been baked that morning.

One final thing. This place seems to have received mixed comments on the Internet, with many commenting unfavourably on the service. Its always a bit dangerous to generalise based on one visit but we found the service spot on - friendly but not pushy, efficient and there when we wanted it, not hovering around when we didn't.

Another classy Melbourne café. Lots of very good things about it and nothing less than acceptable, with enough interesting things on the menu to justify repeat visits.

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

303 Coventry Street
South Melbourne VIC 3205
Tel: (03) 9645 7311

Q Eleven on Urbanspoon

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