There is one group of my friends who are known collectively as the cats. Not because they look like cats, chase after balls of yarn or like to leave small dead animals at my door, but because organising them for any outing is like herding cats. The moment you think you have them all heading in the same direction, that's when it is guaranteed to all go wrong.
To help sort out the herding problem when deciding where to meet before Christmas we settled on Dean's café, located near to home for the hardest to herd cat who I'll refer to as S1. Funnily enough, despite this concession it was of course S1 who was last to arrive. Those cats, they're wacky that way.
Dean's café is a small, nondescript looking café on High Street Thornbury that sells a mix of Thai and Singaporean style meals. To be honest, it's pretty nondescript on the inside as well, white walls, plain tables and Sesame Street playing on the TV behind the bar during our visit. Our waiter, who I assume was also the owner, indicated that the chairman of Air Asia ate in his café when in town. Looking around I was surprised that he couldn't afford somewhere more upmarket to eat. But then again Air Asia airfares are pretty cheap.
So what sort of food would attract the Air Asia chairman? To be honest, it's alright. Three dishes were quite good, one ok and one a little disappointing.
First up were the spring rolls. We weren't going to order entrees planning to leave the room for dessert but were talking into them when giving our orders. I was glad that we were. The were very nicely fried so as to be crispy but not hard or dry, and with quite tasty filling. They made a reasonable start to lunch while waiting for our main meals.
Also perfectly acceptable were the gado gado and the mee siam. Now I have a problem with some gado gado. Its effectively an Indonesian vegetable salad with egg and topped with a generous amount of a peanut based sauce. My major issue is usually with the sauce. I like this quite thick and many places sell it quite runny. For this version the sauce was nicely thick.
The mee siam was also something I'd order again. A fairly new dish for me came with what at first appeared to be carrot but which turned out to be thin orange flavoured noodles. A little bit sweet, mildly spicy, quite tasty and a dish that I am now going to have to order elsewhere. Btw, check out the weird double yolk in our egg.
Slightly disappointing was our curry noodles. A mix of noddles and vegetables in a sauce very similar to that used for laksa, the main problem was the lack of punch to any of the flavours. Mediocre and a bit disappointing.
But the only dish we struggled to finish was the baby squid. This had been specially recommended but I found the squid a bit rubbery and tasteless.
I've never thought of Thornbury as one of the great locations for foodies in Melbourne and Dean's did nothing to change my mind. The décor a little dull and the food nothing to write home about, its major selling point is the price. With most dishes around the ten dollar mark it does represent value for money and an acceptable option if looking for this style of food in Thornbury but I won't be making a special trip all the way out here again. I can't make my mind up about the service, the guy was amusing but it doesn't really help us when ordering if we ask what is good the response is 'it's all good' and he proceeds to name about twenty dishes.
Food - 6.5
Ambience - 6
Service - 6.5
Price - 8
901 High Street
Thornbury VIC 3071
Tel: (03) 9480 3824