22 Aughtie Dve
Albert Park Lake
(03) 8646 6008
Open: 8am – 4pm daily
THE Carousel café is a top spot to perv at celebrity weddings going on next door in the posh Carousel restaurant. I know because I did it recently.
Aussie swimmer Grant Hackett was getting hitched to pop starlet Candice Alley amid a media circus at Carousel. As a member of that circus I got comfortable in the adjoining café to watch the fun and what a good move that was.
While the celebrity couple chose to hide behind curtains to avoid prying cameras, the glorious view of the lake and city skyline was mine to enjoy from the café’s timber balcony.
Subsequent visits have shown the revamped Carousel delivers more than B-grade celeb nuptials and doses of cheeky charm from the café’s spunky waiters make the experience super fun for those of us not members of the celebrity world.
The modern, chic setting is completed with splashes of colour from divine French (Basque) linen cushions. In my mind, attention to detail is what makes this place tick. A bit of research reveals John Van Haandel, responsible for Stokehouse, Circa and Comme, is behind the operation, along with catering company Food&Desire.
In charge of food is executive chef Owen O’Neil and sous chef Frenchman Yvan Meunier, formerly of the Boathouse in Sydney.
The menu is seriously good with standouts like home-made spicy lamb sausage rolls w/ quince chutney & leafy salad ($12) and the carousel mezze plate which changes daily, featuring the chef’s selection of tapas-style morsels w/ grilled olive ciabatta ($16). Daily specials and a quality but wine list top it off.
We went back for all day breakfast last week and were not disappointed with the new winter menu. The Carousel brekky – toasted pide with scrambled eggs, tomato pesto, sautéed mushrooms & crispy bacon ($14) – garnered praise from a hungry brother-in-law.
I was excited by the Bircher muesli ($5). With a perfect creamy texture, this Bircher is not overpowering or glutinous. I can’t put my finger on why it’s so good, but it’s ranking high on my list of Melbourne’s best.
Poached eggs on toasted muffins, smoked salmon, baby spinach, tarragon aioli, and slow roasted tomatoes ($15.0) and the croque monsieur toasted high tin sourdough with smoked leg ham, gruyere and Dijon mustard ($10.5) got the thumbs up from other dining companions.
Prams are welcome as are dogs, trendy types, families and fitness fanatics who have earned themselves a feast after a run around the lake. So be warned, Sunday brunch can get manic.
This place is a winner. Get to the lake. Now.