A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Published April 18th 2014
Doing it (Ahem) Doggy Style
I wouldn't generally be so racy with the sub-title for an article, but somehow, for Cafe Le Chien, it fits. I'm basing that on the rather strange mural that adorns one wall of the cafe - featuring a woman, wearing a military style hat, on all fours, next to a sign declaring 'une femme un chien' (a woman, a dog). Above this is another sign which says: 'I wanna be your dog'. I'm not exactly sure what Le Chien is trying to convey via this mural. Perhaps it's just that it's a bit edgy and not afraid to be bold. Or it could be a link back to something that I'm missing entirely; if that's the case, please do tell me!
The strange mural in Le Chien
Le Chien used to be a favourite Sunday brunch haunt - until it got too popular. Generally, the helpful staff would find us a table even when super-busy, but when it's packed out, Le Chien is not the most pleasant place to be. To be fair, the service never seemed to suffer greatly despite the crush; however, it was the noise that made it unbearable. In fact, even in quiet times, if you happen to be sitting near where the kitchen hand is washing up, the crashing and clanging can be painful.
Behind the counter
On this particular Sunday, we arrived after the brunch rush was over, around 1.30pm. A few weeks earlier, we'd dropped in and had a couple of Le Chien's sandwiches, and declared them perhaps the best sandwiches we'd ever had. On our earlier visit, I'd had the 'roast pork belly sanga with cabbage, fennel and coriander slaw' ($15), while my partner Dave had the 'Scotch fillet sandwich with horseradish mayo, slow roasted tomato and rocket' ($15). As we had each enjoyed our sandwiches so much, this time we swapped; I had the steak sandwich, while Dave had the pork belly sanga.
Pork belly sanga
The sandwiches are served wrapped in paper. Crunchy Turkish bread is used. The fillings are superb! Whoever designed these sandwiches has got the flavour balance just right. I highly recommend them.
Scotch fillet sandwich
If sandwiches are not your thing, there is also a range of other dishes. 'All day' breakfast is served until 3pm. You could choose from the 'Promite special' (free range poached eggs, tomato and avocado on Promite toast) ($15) or basil, Bulgarian marinated sheep's feta & tomato on char-grilled sourdough ($9). There are also some interesting sounding salads (e.g. Tom Kha poached ocean trout with papaya, herb and peanut salad - $18).
Dave was also very impressed with the large pot of tea he was served ($3.60), the metal teapot reminiscent of what he had at home as a child.
There are always some delicious looking cakes, slices and muffins available. On this occasion we managed to resist them.
Pot of tea
Le Chien is fully licensed and is open seven days.