Sunday, May 15, 2016

Cafe Florentine, Brighton by Bureaucrat

Cafe Florentine is a fine dining (aka "Gold Card") restaurant in the 2016-17 Entertainment Book, which means that you can get a complementary main course, of up to $40 in value, when another main course of equal or greater value is purchased.  This year, the Eat and Be Merry Crew is fundraising for FareShare by encouraging our dear readers to buy a copy or two of the 2016-17 Entertainment Book - our goal is to raise $1,000 for FareShare (more details can be found in our post here)!  There's a book for each state and territory in Australia that's chock full of dining, entertainment and lifestyle offers.

Cafe Florentine, Brighton, pinot
For a family celebration, we took the opportunity to use the dining offer to try out a restaurant in a part of town that we don't usually head into.   Located on one of the main dining and shopping strips in Brighton, Cafe Florentine was already pretty full when we turned up for our 6pm reservation.  A few us kicked off the dinner with a glass or two of pinot.

While the main dishes seemed impressive on paper, unfortunately they lacked the 'wow' factor in terms of what was served.  Don't get me wrong - we all thought the food was alright but for the price (most mains were in the $30+ price range) it just wasn't hitting the mark.

Cafe Florentine, Brighton, pork belly
I got the pork belly dish ($34.50), which came with an apple and fennel salad, apple aioli and cider jus.  While it was a decent slab of tender pork, the crackling (such as it was) wasn't crisp or crunchy.  Disappointingly, it was chewy.

Cafe Florentine, Brighton, seafood linguine
The Lawyer's seafood linguine ($31) was probably the best main dish on the night.  I had food envy when I tasted the delicious sauce and the perfectly al dente pasta.  It came loaded with fairly good-sized prawns, chunks of white fish and calamari.  However, the dish was marred by the fact that all of the gorgeous looking clams were still clammed up (pun!).  It didn't seem right to send the four clams back to the kitchen to get them to steam them for a while longer... no amount of prying would get them to open.

Cafe Florentine, Brighton, beef fillet
Mother Hen ordered one of the specials - 250g of black Angus beef eye fillet ($42).  While she enjoyed the stuffed tomato, the eye fillet was a let down.  The thing about eye fillet is that it's meant to be the best cut of beef.  It's meant to be completely tender and free of sinew.  This piece had several sinewy bits through it.  As someone who buys eye fillet on a regular basis, I know this wasn't a true piece of eye fillet.

Cafe Florentine, Brighton, salmon
 Beaker also ordered one of the fish of the day - salmon with beetroot and goats cheese ($38).

Cafe Florentine, Brighton, beef ribs
Mr Strong quite liked his beef short ribs ($32).  Three hefty and tender chunks of beef with a lovely sticky glaze, which was served with an apple slaw.

Cafe Florentine, Brighton, calamari
Bubba Chuck got a kid's meal, which was pretty good value.  The calamari and chips ($16.50) also came with a serve of ice cream for dessert (see below).

Cafe Florentine, Brighton, fries
 We also got a large serve of fries ($7.50) for the table...

Cafe Florentine, Brighton, rocket salad
...and a very fresh rocket, walnut and Parmesan salad ($7.50).

Cafe Florentine, Brighton, ice cream
The kids meal comes with your choice of ice cream with caramel sauce.

Cafe Florentine, Brighton, pineapple tarte tartin
While us adults shared two desserts.  The first was the pineapple and ginger tarte tartin, which came with coconut sorbet ($14).  I liked the crispy pastry and it's a nice idea, but I was expecting thinly hand-sliced pieces of pineapple.  Instead, it was a ring of pre-cut pineapple that you get out of a tin.  I couldn't also taste the ginger.

Cafe Florentine, Brighton, apple fig pudding
The other dessert was the apple and fig pudding, which was served with vanilla ice cream and butterscotch sauce on the side ($14).  This was okay but nothing memorable.

Cafe Florentine, Brighton


We liked it
We liked it.


While the service was stellar (polite and attentive) the execution of the food was bit off mark for a restaurant that changes $30+ per main dish.  With plenty of other dining options (casual and fine dining) on Church Street (and also nearby Bay Street), Cafe Florentine will definitely have to lift its game if I were to come back again.

Find it at

Cafe Florentine
24 Church Street
Brighton VIC 3186
Phone: (03) 9593 1214

Cafe Florentine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

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