7 July 2007

Carousel Café

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.


- Kate


Anonymous said...

I would absolutely agree - food is great and service is always so friendly, even at their busiest times! Great for breakfast.

Anonymous said...

It is always packed and as much as the staff try so hard to please, sometimes it can be a little too packed! Very family and dog friendly though and great food.

Anonymous said...

Gosh Kate, I love it too! My girlfriend and I do the jogging and then the breakfast on a regular basis and when my parents dropped in for a surprise visit on a very lazy (read as-hungover)Sunday, guess where we went?
So I'm in your court.

Oby said...

Can be a bit chilly in winter if the windows are open and the food always arrives cold but the staff are great and kids are welcome. Another bonus is the all day parking for $2 readily available if you arrive earlish. Handy if the car is the only way you can efficiently move your tribe any greater distance than 20 metres. If you have a fussy friend the kitchen is militant about not adjusting the composition of orders on the weekend. You have been warned...don't try and mess with the menu. Upside is you probably won't want too.