Side Street Cafe (Invited)

Friday, June 30, 2017 Sharon Halim 0 Comments

A former furniture shop - Side Street Cafe is now officially, both a cafe and a furniture store. The owner slash furniture-maker drew inspiration from his travels and holiday home at a beautiful French village and translated it to the decor of the restaurant.

Enter the store and you can immediately feel the French retro-vintage vibes from it. With actual vintage pieces and not your ‘faux’ old-looking pieces you can grab from Typo. The store had several French newspaper clippings from the late 1800s! We arrive quite early before the lunch hour, so we had a lengthy chat with the owner and the manager, giving a long tour over the small premise. How can there be a long tour in a short venue you might ask? We just spent at least 15 minutes over the map of French, talking about different places etc. The owner apparently love to buy eclectic antiques. One of it was an old newspaper covering Bazar de la CharitΓ© fire in 1897. Yeap that’s right, that side street contains a collection of century old newspaper. I opened the wikipedia, and sure enough, lo and behold, that exact newspaper:

I was served this wonderfully fragrant Pear Tea out of a beautiful teapot and cup. The tea itself had some Earl Grey notes to it but was quite a fruity blend which I enjoyed. The beer collection was no joke either. I was recommended the british courage directors, which was solid nice. But then, I was offered the barossa valley golden ale which I cannot refuse. And regret I did not. There was a very sharp aroma of honey over the classic taste of golden ale.

For the food, the cafe specialises in Croque Monsieurs. And wow, do they nail them Croque Monsieurs. The owner slash beer and croque monsieur enthusiast had actually done some research on these bad boys. Travelling to several regions in France and taste-testing various style of the croque monsieur, he drew inspiration from the Burgundy region with their rich croque monsieurs. Using a blend of both cheddar and Swiss cheese, the Original Croque Monsieurs I ordered was just the best I’ve ever had. I have never imagined that a cheese toastie could have such a crisp exterior and such a gooey cheesiness on the inside! You could actually SEE the crispness of the cheese just by looking at it! The challenge is balancing between overly gooey to the point of spilling toastie and the overly crisp-burnt toastie.

I have a taste for very strong dishes, more than most people. And my blue cheese croque Monsieur ticked all of my boxes. The blue cheese was distinct in its infamous pungent goodness, without being overpowering and drowned the rest of the dish. You can tell the sharpness of parmesan. Everything was molten into perfection. The sides was crisp, but not burnt. It solidify into a something firm, not gooey, but not tough either. It was a gourmet tour de force.

Side Street Cafe certainly nail this Croque Monsieurs. Would come back for the Croque Madame variation for an added sunny side up on top!

Side Street Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Side Street Cafe
394A Chapel St
South Yarra VIC 3141
Monday-Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday-Thursday: 10.30am-6.30pm
Friday-Sunday: 10.30am-11pm