Monday, September 14, 2009

The legal precinct's tiny gem

Demi Tasse
550 Lonsdale St
Ph: 9642 3571

When I first walked into Demi Tasse, I was a little disappointed. I was in the mood for a substantial meal and when I saw the assortment of baguettes sitting in the display cabinet, and saw how tiny the cafe was, I figured it was the kind of place where busy lawyers from the neighbouring courts and chambers came to quickly grab a roll to take back to the office. Thankfully, I was wrong. While the majority of dishes are bread-based, there are plenty of specials to choose from, ranging from a 3 cheese risotto, zucchini timbale, or a chestnut and cauliflower soup; or the veal meatballs which I've heard are worth keeping an eye out for.

Bruschetta with avocado ($7.50)

Toasted rye sandwich with house roasted capsicum, eggplant and goats cheese ($7.50)

The bruschetta and the antipasto platter were presented beautifully, quite a contrast to the appearance of J's meal. Even the chef noticed this; he delivered the sandwich to our table, observing that "I may have gone overboard with the goat's cheese" as he handed the plate over. After tasting it J agreed, and told me she couldn't really taste anything but the cheese.

Antipasto platter ($11.50)

Featured on this platter, clockwise from bread: roast beef with wholegrain mustard; cornichons; grilled eggplant with pesto; roast capsicum, pumpkin and goats cheese; smoked salmon with horseradish cream and capers; and mushroom terrine with relish.

The platter was fantastic for the taste, value and variety; the only problem I had was with the eggplant as it was quite oily and rich and I could only eat a little of it.

The name of the cafe - meaning "half cup" - hints to customers that coffee is a very important part of the business, and this year's Cheap Eats guide informed me that the owners of Demi Tasse, brothers Stuart and Michael, "blind-tested Peruvian Fairtrade beans to choose the right brew; it's excellent". My latte was strong and hot, and at around 2pm on a Thursday we found Demi Tasse to be a great place to grab a coffee or a quick bite - landing a table in the middle of breakfast or lunch, however, could be a challenge.

Demi Tasse serves breakfast and lunch Monday - Saturday, with dishes ranging from $4-$14.

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