Monday, September 1, 2014

Blahnik Cafe, Melbourne CBD by Big Fil

I’ve walked past Blahnik CafĂ© numerous times and it always looked very popular.  It looked nice, people seemed happy, and while I didn’t know anyone who'd actually visited things looked very promising. Long down on our list of places to go we finally got to visit somewhere which turned out to be cafeteria like in style, but not cafeteria like in quality.

What do I mean by cafeteria like in style? Well, you can choose the main dish you want from behind the glass and two sides to go with it, sort of like back in my old school days. Or you can pick one of the rolls; not something I tried on the day but appeared pretty impressive at a quick glance. So why wasn’t it cafeteria like in quality? The wide range of dishes, which included Italian rice balls (arancini), nice looking roast pork and crackling, and my choice of the sesame chicken. The fresh looking salads are also impressive, with not too many cafeterias offering you the choice of a cous cous salad.

While being premade obviously imposes some limitations, I liked my sesame chicken.  Chicken doesn’t always stand up very well to the rigours of being pre-made and sitting around for a little while.  The flavour was good but inevitably it was a touch dry, and not as hot as if it'd been freshly cooked.  I’ve certainly had worse, and it compared well with an average Melbourne suburban restaurant and was probably the same or better in quality, served faster and at a lower price.

Both of the two sides were certainly passable as well. The chips were crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside.  The cous cous salad, served with rocket, chick peas and raisins, was alternatively sweet and crunchy.  Nothing outstanding about either option but again, served at a randomly chosen suburban place, I wouldn't have been unhappy with either.

It’s not all pre-prepared food though and Snooze decided to order the falafel burger off the small menu.  While others sitting around the communal table seemed to enjoy their menu burgers, the falafel burger was a little disappointing.  Nice fresh salad ingredients to go with the burger but the falafel themselves were lacking in flavour, and didn’t have that nice crunchy coating, or fluffy texture inside.

So, why is Blahnik so popular? The food is decent, the environment is nice, and it fills a gap between the quick hit takeaway and a more formal restaurant meal at a price office workers can live with as a regular indulgence.  It’s not fine dining, but if you want something more than a sandwich it provides a reasonable alternative.  Just remember to get here early, as it packs out quickly.

Food – 7
Service – 6.5
Ambience – 7.5
Price – 7.5

30 Equitable Place
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: (03) 9642 2234

Blahnik Cafe on Urbanspoon

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