Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Third Wave Cafe, Prahran (by invitation) by Bureaucrat

When Greg the manager of the Third Wave Cafe contacted us to try out their new-ish outpost in Prahran (the original TWC is located in Port Melbourne), I was intrigued.  Not only because of the eclectic menu that has dishes that aren't as common (think Russian and Paleo dishes) but also because of their chef, Ryo Kitahara, a protégé of Iron Chef Sakai (for those who watch Iron Chef, he’s the one in red holding the nashi pear). With an invitation like that, I just had to check out Third Wave Cafe.

Situated on Cato Street in Prahran, Third Wave Cafe is a haven from the hustle and bustle of nearby Chapel Street and Prahran Market. Inside, it’s a spacious rectangular outfit with lots of natural light streaming through.

Hipsters and young families seem very at home and happy having their leisurely brunch and coffee fix. During the course of our meal, I couldn’t help but wonder how the gym junkies from across the street were feeling as they exercised and watched us eat this yummy food.

From top clockwise: sour cream, potato salad, syrniki, blintzes and blueberry jam.

Having perused the extensive menu, I ordered the Russian sampler platter for the two of us to share. First impressions were good. A big plate of lovely golden, pan fried goodies, with a waft of savoury aromas wafting from the dishes. This vision of Russian delights was even more tempting with (to borrow a term) lots of wok hei coming from the plate. This is going be good!

The blintzes were my favourite. These thin buckwheat blintzes were stuffed with a piping hot filling – one with a mixed mince (pork and chicken) and root veg, and the other with mushrooms and cheese. I’ve only ever had blintzes in the pancake form, so these stuffed blintzes were a delight. Greg advised that for the true Russian experience, that we had to add sour cream to everything on the dish. This added a bit of richness to the blintzes. I could easily eat a whole plate of these. Warm, filling and just so moreish. Without the sour cream, the stuffed blintzes (especially the meat one) is very reminiscent of the pan rolls that you get at Indian restaurants but without the curry flavours.

The syrniki are round ricotta pancakes that can be eaten sweet or savoury. This was Beaker’s favourite. Although it was slightly dense in texture it was also lighter than I thought it’d be – kinda of like a buttermilk pancake on steroids. We ate this with the cute pot of organic blueberry jam and more sour cream.
As with the blintzes, the potato salad was unlike (and much better!) the other run-of-the-mill potato salads that I've eaten in the past. Despite it being a starchy dish, it was quite light and not at all stodgy. Tender cubes of potato mixed with dill, boiled egg, pea and carrots, and nicely seasoned. The dressing, I suspect, was made from sour cream, however, it was still light and not excessively rich as potato salads can sometimes be.

The sampler also has pelmeni - Russian dumplings with a meat filling. While they look like Asian style dumplings, they are smaller in size - almost bite size - and according to Greg, when compared to Asian dumplings, they may seem a bit bland. To compensate for this, the pelmenis are eaten with, you guessed it, sour cream to add flavour. The dumplings has a quite a thick wrapper and a small amount of meat inside, and it's firmer in texture. I didn't mind these - it was different and had a homely style to it.

While I was full from the main dish, Beaker was still a bit peckish. In particular, she had spied the raspberry and mascapone brioche panini. A lovely golden toasted brioche, with perfect grill marks was brought to our table. While it had a lovely, fragrant raspberry jam on the inside, we were both hoping that it would include some fresh raspberries. Definitely, this is a dish best shared - it's sweet, it's buttery and it's creamy. I especially liked the crisp crust of the toasted brioche and the light-as-air texture.

Beaker and I both got a pot of tea each – green tea for Beaker and earl grey for me.

Towards the end of the meal, while I continued with my earl grey tea, Beaker enjoyed the brioche with a cup of beautifully made decaf.

Food - 8
Ambiance - 7
Service - 7.5*
Price – 7.5*
* Scores are notional as we were guests of Third Wave Cafe.

A nice cafe with an interesting and varied menu. While we only tried a few dishes, I feel fairly sure to say that Third Wave Cafe is a solid performer - and clearly a favourite among locals. The food is well made and there is attention to detail and in the execution of the dishes. I also really like the warm and casual vibe that the place has - it's like going over to a friend's home who wants you to enjoy yourself and eat some great food. The friendly staff add to this vibe when they welcome you into the cafe.

Third Wave Cafe
30 Cato Street
Telephone: 9510 2991

Third Wave Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 


obelix glutt said...

Yum! Great review!

Bureaucrat said...

Thank you :)

Anonymous said...

Sounds nice, would like to try it out soon! Also, not sure if you noticed, but the girl with the funky hair in the second photo is another food blogger, Ashley! http://imsohungree.blogspot.com.au/ Looks like I definitely have to go there soon :)

Bureaucrat said...

Hi Anonymous - thanks for your comment :) Yes, I did notice the other blogger - we're kinda easy to spot as we take photographs of our food. I actually had a photo of the cafe where she was happen to be taking a photo of her dish.

Sally Li said...

great review- you should have brought Big Fil out too.http://newintstudents.blogspot.com.au/2013/11/third-wave-cafe-in-prahran-by-katherine.html

Bureaucrat said...

Thanks Sally.

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