Saturday, July 13, 2013

Alice Nivens, Melbourne CBD by Big Fil

A morning tea at Alice Nivens has left me a bit in two minds.  I mean, it’s hard to tell which is the cutest, the freshly baked scones and cakes, the flower laden tables or the staff.  What isn’t open to doubt though is that it is a much needed oasis of refinement in a desert of arcade dining.

Because of its offbeat location you could be forgiven for not noticing Alice Nivens was there.  I walk through the Port Philip several times a week but even I had only paid minimal attention to it.  This was not helped by the fact that it only seems open weekdays during normal office workers – very inconvenient for office slaves like Snooze and myself.  But one Friday both of us had the first part of the morning off so by using my well honed powers of negotiation I was able to convince Snooze that she really wanted to try this place.

The amount of cakes and scones on display was limited, I am not sure whether that is all they have for the day or whether they continue to bake but fortunately our early arrival meant it was not an issue for us.  First thing both Snooze and I fixated on was the scones, served with vanilla crème and jam.  While we both thought the scones were good Snooze would have rated them a bit better than that, very good through excellent.  For me though, while light and fluffy, they lacked two things I particularly like, a top that sounds hollow when tapped and the little cloud of steam you get when breaking open a freshly baked scone.  What I did like very much was the fresh vanilla cream.

Unable to help ourselves we of course had to also try the cakes.  The white chocolate and coffee gateau was light and fluffy and delicately flavoured.  Very pretty presentation too, while admittedly coffee flavoured cakes are not my favourite I did enjoy this.

What I really enjoyed though were the pistachio and chocolate cupcakes and the honeycomb and strawberry jam brownie.  I usually find cupcakes overpriced and a little mediocre, similar to macarons I love the good ones but am rarely willing to sift through all the dross.  Our cupcake here was one of the best I’ve had in Melbourne, with full pistachio and chocolate flavours particularly in the delicious icing.  Best thing of the day though was clearly the brownie, which was rich, moist, well flavoured, interestingly textured from the honeycomb, something I just wanted to let sit and nibble rather than bite so as to savour every last bit.

Lovely friendly staff, decor that makes you want to just stay and great fresh baked treats, while we didn’t get to try the lunchtime sandwiches I am confident they would be just as good.

Food – 8.5
Service – 8.5
Ambience – 8
Price – 7

Shop 13 Port Philip Arcade (Between Flinders Street and Flinders Lane)
Melbourne VIC 3000

Alice Nivens on Urbanspoon

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