Having to go into work on December 23rd, we decided to make the most of lunch with a little trip to Carlton's The Vertue of the Coffee Drink. Nothing like a good lunch to make up for having to work so close to Christmas time.
I had previously visited the cafe when it first opened in early 2015 or 2016 (eeps, starting to lose track of the time). I'll admit the popcorn and avo we tried during that first visit didn't quite have me sold on Vertue (speaking of which, the popcorn and avo is still on the menu as a side dish so maybe it's just me...), but the spread we tasted during the most recent visit already has me itching for a return visit some time soon...
The visual masterpiece that was the Salmon garden was not only a delicious treat for the eyes (which made taking the first bite particularly problematic as I was more than happy to keep shooting photos) but also for the taste buds. Featuring coffee cured salmon, a spring vegetable garden, puffed almond amaranth and one perfectly-cooked sous vide egg, there was more than enough to bombard the taste buds with a flavoursome hit but still managed to meld together beautifully. It's a fairly safe bet that the salmon, avocado and dill combo works a treat but the tang of the pickled zucchini, sweetness of the beets and savoury crunch of the puffed almond amaranth salmon coating really upped the dish's A game.
Other dishes ordered by work mates:
- Green egg & ham - mixtures of pea, slow braised ham hock, minted bearnaise, manchego croquette and sous vide egg.
- Vertue grain salad - with quinoa, tea soaked prune, cashew cheese, pickled avocado, heirloom tomato, kale and alfalfa.
Dishes from visit number one included the avocado and popcorn with egg and a meatball sandwich.
The Vertue of the Coffee Drink
8 Raffa Place,
Carlton, Victoria, 3053.
(03) 8060 6987