Mar 23 2010
EARLY ON A SATURDAY MORNING
It’s a calm, crisp Melbourne morning. Tubbymistress is ‘jogging’ along the beach, her ragged breathing punctuating the sound of children laughing and women talking on their iPhones. The bay is a serene shade of blue, its waves too sleepy to cause more than a ripple. Suddenly, a beacon of light looms up ahead.
123 Beaconsfield Parade (corner Kerford Rd)
Albert Park VIC
There’s nothing better than starting the weekend with the newspaper and a lazy breakfast. For me, this means a character-filled café, the Herald Sun, a freshly squeezed juice and a bowl of muesli (bircher or toasted, depending on what mood I’m in). Sometimes I break out and go a bit crazy with my breakfast choice, especially if there’s something kind of special on the menu.
At the Victorian, this is sourdough toast: a fat slice of bread adorned with pesto, goats cheese and roasted roma tomatoes. It’s a creamy, nutty combination of savoury goodness, the tomato adding a sweet exclamation mark to an excellent rendition of a breakfast classic. After one mouthful, I know that everything is okay with the world – and that my pre-breakfast jog was for a good cause.
Like breakfast, dinner at the Victorian exudes the Covergirl ethos (easy, breezy, beautiful); the vibe is laidback, with unpretentious elegance. In part, this is due to their fun, personable staff, and the wonderful location. It’s a nice place for a relaxed meal with your significant other or a group of friends, particularly if you’ve chosen a table that looks out at the bay.
Similar to many places I’ve dined at lately, the Victorian offers a selection of smaller dishes designed to be shared. If you’d prefer something more substantial, there are a handful of inexpensive, interesting mains: smoked lamb cutlets served with whipped feta mash and pomegranate molasses ($27); kangaroo fillet marinated in juniper berry and lemon with parsnip and potato smash ($25); and the more straightforward: grass-fed scotch fillet served with baby kipflers, baby tomatoes and green beans with a pinot noir jus ($26.5). Unless you feel like chowing down on a steak, the best choice by far is the chef’s selection tasting plate: a smattering of smaller dishes that will please your tastebuds and fill your stomach at a very reasonable price ($35 for two people).
Given its location, the Victorian is a great choice on a sunny day or night; given the quality of its food, it’s a great choice any time of year. The place can be unexpectedly quiet, even on a Friday or Saturday night – something I’ve never understood. Try it, and let me know what you think. Just keep in mind that breakfast is not served after 12.