Sunday, 17 November 2013

American and Russian and Pale-o my! {Third Wave Cafe Prahran review}

Melbourne is saturated with cafes, we all know this, and standing out amongst a zillion (yes, that is the official figure) other options is the only way to keep going in our caffeine-enriched city.  So when the team behind 'Third Wave Cafe' in Port Melbourne opened a second venue tucked away behind Chapel Street (in a side street off Commerical Road) in Prahran, they had their work cut out. Chapel Street is a tourist mecca, it is hard work to coerce people away from the main drag with its plethora of offers.

The solution? Call in the bloggers. Greg, the co-owner has been inviting the 'talk about their food' types to try his new joint and I was happy to be included. It seems there is such a thing as a free lunch. It is a bold move (it could be suicidal having a bunch of snap-happy foodies documenting a new business' teething problems) and it speaks of somebody confident enough to stand behind their product from the beginning. Of course these guys have a  tried and tested formula at the successful and well-reviewed Port Melbourne venue and from our experience Prahran will follow suit.

I'm going to start with the wine. It astounds me when a cafe wine list has a parsimonious two or three wines by the glass- usually a Sauvignon Blanc, a Shiraz and either something bubbly or sweet. This is Melbourne! The city that prides itself on its European influence. Europeans drink wine; we drink wine don't we (lets see a show of hands)? I was delighted by the list presented at Third Wave - just look at it...

They have a really decent range of varietals and styles with 2 or 3 of each varietal by the glass. Bravo.

I had a lovely Ninth Island Chardonnay (Tasmanian Chardonnay rocks my boat) and the Bookworm had one of his faves- the Mt Langhi Ghiran 'Billi Billi' Pinot Grigio. Served in lovely Riedel glasses- this stuff is important:)

The food is an eclectic mix of the usual cafe-fare (muffins and paninis), American barbeque, Russian (the owners are Russian) and they have just introduced a Paleo menu (savvy- there is a gym directly opposite). With this level of variety there is something for everyone and gluten intolerant and vegetarian peeps are well catered for. Being very tolerant of gluten I went for the pulled pork slider which comes with a side of fries (15.90)

The pork was beautiful (and I consider myself a pulled pork connoisseur- here's my recipe), tender and saucy and sweet with a hint of spice, some gorgeous crunchy pickles and fresh tangy coleslaw. Good chips can be life-changing and these were sensational, super crispy with a beer batter and just the right amount of seasoning.

The Bookworm went for the gourmet burger ($18.90) with a side of fries ($4.90)
Brioche buns are a revelation, a trend I very much support, and with a very tasty beef patty made from porterhouse with fetta and sun-dried tomatoes the Bookworm reckoned that it was in his top 5 of burgers. There was a little pot of delicious smokey barbeque sauce for chip-dunking on the side too.

The breakfast menu looks delish- I have to try the 'creamy orange french toast'- and they pride themselves on their coffee (although untested on this visit). They have just started opening Thursday to Saturday for dinner- think seriously smoky spicy slow-cooked American barbeque finger-licking heaven. Chatting to the manager at the end we learned that this had been their first weekend of dinner service (which went very well) and the poor service staff had only had about 6 hours sleep before trotting back in for breakfast. A testament to their professionalism, the service was casual but friendly and the place had a lovely vibe.

With their varied menu and high quality food 'Third Wave' stands out for me as a great venue for a party or family gathering and is certainly a lovely little comfort-food addition to the Prahran dining scene.

Please note: The lovely people behind Third Wave Cafe invited me to try their new venue. My policy is that if I don't have a good experience I will communicate with the business privately. The opinions here are completely honest.

Third Wave on Urbanspoon

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