Cafe Vue (red box February 2008 edition) & Kenzan @ GPO

Cafe Vue
340 Little Collins St
Melbourne VIC 3000
+61 3 9691 3899
Kenzan @ GPO
350 Bourke St
Melbourne VIC 3000
+61 3 9963 7767
One of my life goals is to go to Melbourne’s ‘it’ French restaurant, Vue de Monde. Unfortunately me being jobless does not allow it and hell, all assets currently held under my name will not even let me buy a side dish at Vue. Therefore, I figured the next best thing to experiencing Shannon Bennett’s geniusness (is that even a word?) was to go to one of Vue de Monde‘s sister establishments, Cafe Vue which serves cafe fare. Obviously.Anyway, Cafe Vue is located just next to Vue proper in the legal district of Melbourne – sorta like the whole Grossi Florentino + sister restaurants set-up: the main one being only restricted to people with heaps of money to burn and the smaller one offering food for mere mortals like myself. I had heard good things about Cafe Vue‘s red lunchboxes so I decided to pick up one for myself and Adam at 11:00am because apparently they sell out pretty quickly. I had to wait 5 minutes for them to prepare the lunch boxes but that was okay – it gave me the opportunity to suss out the really funky decor and people-watch. The staff there were quite friendly and not snobby which was a good sign. Plus, when they informed me that the dessert component of the lunchbox, the chocolate cake, was still in the oven and that there was going to be a 10 minute wait, they offered me some alternatives and gave me a free pistachio macaroon for the inconvenience. Heh, just as well – I probably would’ve preferred the pistachio desserts to the chocolate cake anyway. Two thumbs up.

For $15, you get this pretty red box with all sorts of goodies in it. The menu changes every month in conjuction with what’s “cool” within the restaurant scene (no molecular bullsht in these boxes though, thank God) and what’s in season etc.

February’s menu consisted of potato salad (in the little cup on the left), a smoked salmon brioche, a chicken + vegetable terrine and a chocolate cake (which I swapped for a pistachio cupcake while Adam had a caramel slice)

Heh, the cupcake looks like a boob covered in green body paint…


Verdict: The potato salad was the best I’ve ever tasted – very creamy and tangy with the right amount of red onions and capers to balance things out. The salmon brioche with rocket leaves was also amazing. It was kept moist and chewy by a generous serving of caper mayo. As for the chicken and vegie terrine? It was okay, but nothing spectular. Then again, I was never a fan of terrine in the first place. In fact, whenever I order banh mi (Vietnamese pork rolls – the cold meat kind), I always request them to hold the pork terrine because I can’t stand it. Adam, on the other hand, loved the terrine.
After all that, I was positively stuffed. I did not even have enough room in my stomach to eat my cupcake. It was weird because it didn’t look like there was that much food but I swear, I felt like I’d just come out of a yum cha meal. At first I thought that my slow eating pace coupled with the rich latte I had added to me feeling full but Adam also said that he was stuffed and he ate like a horse AND only had a measly espresso…. *scratches head* In the end, we both decided saved our desserts for supper … but not before I snuck a bite of Adam’s caramel slice which was, by far, the best caramel slice I’ve ever had. Yum! Can’t wait to have April’s menu! 


Our food adventure did not end there. We spent the afternoon looking for a present for Josh’s 21st birthday (this coming Saturday) before Adam decided to spoil me by buying me a simple but really hot aqua dress from Kookai for no apparent reason. Because he’s just so lovely . At around 4pmish, we decided that we were hungry again (remember, we had that lunchbox at 11:30am, a good 5.5 hours ago). Adam felt like sushi so we decided to go to Kenzan @ GPO because Jenny keeps raving on about their sushi and because Kelly’s blog about her Kenzan experience not too long ago made me even more eager to suss out the place. Although we’d passed this place heaps of times, we’ve never actually been in it because it’s always PACKED.
But at 4pm in the afternoon, the place was dead quiet – perfect! I wanted to try a Bento lunchbox but they’d stop doing that (it WAS 4pm, after all) so we opted for a few sushi rolls and a beef teriyaki dish to share.

Sushi rolls are a few cents more expensive than your standard sushi store (about $2.90 if you’re taking away) and if you eat in, you have to pay another 20 cents. A bit stupid if you ask me but I suppose rent at the GPO can’t be all that cheap and restaurants need to make their money somehow . And besides, the sushi here is so good that you actually don’t mind paying that little bit extra for it.

You get your sushi wrapped in plastic and although they don’t look it, they actually require some assembly on your part. The seaweed wrapping is actually in a seperate little pouch (to keep the seaweed from getting soggy, I guess) to the rice so you have to wrap it yourself. I freaked out at first thinking that my sushi was going to be a mess but it was actually piss easy – just roll tightly and seal with some water.

The beef teriyaki dish. From memory, I think it was $13-15. Pretty good but perhaps a bit too sweet for me to call it excellent.

My smoked salmon + prawn sushi. They were YUM! Adam’s lobster and potato (yeah wtf!) was even more amazing. It was so good that I decided to buy one to take home with me.

I eat too much.


  1. icesabre
    February 27, 2008

    Mmm mmm!!!! Personally I’m not a big fan of raw-fish & salmon sushi, I need to dip the whole thing in wasabi to reduce the fishiness, but it looks lovely!

  2. KeLlY_Siew
    February 27, 2008

    Damn. no chance for cafe vue since lunchbox since I work so far away from the city (maybe I should get trev to get one for me). And I’m craving for Kenzan after seeing ur entry, good isn’t it?? It’s totally worth the extra money!

  3. jtngu8
    February 27, 2008

    I love your food entries – makes me wanna go out and eat out more often. Boyfriend and I are always out eating so I’m always keen to know where Melbourne’s hot spots, so I can critique the hell out of them. I was recently told to go to this Jap restaurant, called Ishiya (152 Bourke St, Chinatown), where they stone grill their food. Have you been there before? The food is so expensive though (~$40). But someday I shall go!

    How sweet of Adam to buy you a dress. Let’s see the pics! I wish the boyfriend was able to see something and think of me and buy it and have me LOVE it. Teehee.

  4. jeslin87
    February 29, 2008

    Orgasmic photo blog!! 😀

  5. aznality
    February 29, 2008

    “Heh, the cupcake looks like a boob covered in green body paint…”
    I did not even notice that. Sometimes I think girls are more perverted than guys. =P

    You are making me crave for sushi again. Haha. I might grab some this weekend.

  6. jowee86
    February 29, 2008

    u sure love ur food! lol =P
    that green cupcake DOES look like a boob LOL
    oh and i couldnt say hi last time coz i was in jigsaw for a styling session and couldn’t exactly run out of the store while the manager was talking haha


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