Monday, September 6, 2010

Brunch on the River with Poppet at...

Blue Train

Address: MR5 Mid-Level, Southgate Landing, Southbank, Victoria

Phone: (03) 9696 0111

Open: Mon-Sat 7am-11pm, Sun 8am-11pm


This kind of bustling café is one I usually try to avoid, but Blue Train manages to do the quick-turnover-fast-fulfilling-meals-thing rather well and has been doing so for a very long time.

Positioned right on the Yarra River at Southbank, the best spot to sit and enjoy a meal here is definitely outside on the second level balcony, overlooking Melbourne city at its best.

With our occasionally unpredictable weather, umbrellas ensure you are protected from the bright sunshine (although it’s worth bringing your sunnies in case you settle in the ‘bright seat’) and transparent awnings can be rolled into place to provide shelter on days of wind and rain, or raised to give uninterrupted views of the city and a refreshing breeze.

Inside colourful blue walls are features, with the café also boasting 16 metres of white wall space used to feature the artwork of both established and aspiring artists. Pieces are available for sale and changed monthly.

Blue Train offers plenty of seating choices with feature lights and wooden tables of various sizes matched to comfortable white plastic seats inside the large dining space. There’s also the opportunity to seat larger groups of ten to fifteen people, which is rare in popular restaurants and is perfectly suited to a birthday gathering or catch up with lots of friends. You can even choose to sit at diner-style raised tables with stools or watch the action from the central, square bar.

Blue Train is a great place to enjoy a sunny day, a family meal, or a crowd get-together. Open for breakfast (served until 3pm) lunch and dinner, all meals are served quickly with endless menu choices at great value prices.

From Monday to Friday you can take advantage of the $4.75 Breakfast Special or one of the five $10 lunch options, which change weekly. With kid’s choices, hot rock pizzas, pasta, dishes of Asian to Indian influence through to an extensive dessert cabinet, this buzzy café caters for everyone.

Between our family we ordered from all sections of the menu. After convincing my 9 year old brother that the kid’s pizza was just as good as the one from the ‘grown up’ menu, he ordered and loved the ham and pineapple option.

My mother enjoyed the bircher muesli, soaked in juice with nuts, dried fruit and yoghurt and showing the quality of similarly delicious combinations served at a much trendier (and more expensive) boutique cafés.

My father made a brilliant selection devouring a gigantic, classic-style, Blue Train Burger with the bacon, lettuce, cheese, tomato and onion served on a lightly toasted bun, with a generous side of well-cooked fries (rapidly stolen from his plate) and tomato chutney.

Both my French exchange student and boyfriend enjoyed the BLT, served on warm pidé with the option of the fried egg.

I had a side salad of beetroot, rocket, feta and pine nuts, large enough to be a small meal on its own, as well as a warming daily special, the lamb, lentil and vegetable soup. Served with pita bread, it’s the perfect dish to enjoy on a cool winter morning.

Although I prefer to visit cafés in more ‘tucked away’ places, Blue Train is a quick, easy option that is ideal for groups, decently priced, and with the huge advantage of an open-air view of this fabulous city as a backdrop.

It may never get a chef’s hat, but for what it continues to provide, Blue Train is much deserving of a first or repeat visit and a couple of kisses (and a bit)!

Blue Train Café on Urbanspoon

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