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Cervo Cafe, Southbank

Home > Melbourne > Cafes
by Aloo (subscribe)
Melbourne has so much to offer. I love experiencing new places and events and sharing them with you. I have an interest in gluten free, vegan and vegetarian diets so I will let you know if you these can be catered for in my reviews.
Published July 17th 2013

There are so many great options for a meal in the Crown precinct. You can make an occasion really special by going to somewhere like The Altantic, Koko or Spice Temple. Or if you are after casual dining there are many also, such as Lucky Chan, Jimbo and Rex and then there is Cervo. We wandered into Cervo. Let me tell you about our experience.

It was 12.30pm on a Sunday afternoon. We had just been to the building and home improvement expo and had two tired young children, four adults, one of those vegan.

We stood in the entrance and watched patiently while waitresses in matching red and green aprons served tables or stood at the bar, careful to avoid contact too quickly. Six minutes later we were still standing, we should have left then. Six minutes is a long time.

Cervo is on the banks of the Yarra. Beautiful on a warm day to sit outside. The decor inside was pleasant, with interesting plates on the wall and dark wooden tables.

cervo, italian, plates
Wall decor

After being seated, we were provided with menus. Complete with a little kids' menu. On the reverse of which was a colouring activity. Nice way to settle the kids down and much appreciated.

Our table ordered a chicken pizza, fries and (wait for it) a vegetarian pizza without dairy. Oh the confusion. The waitress seemed amazed that you could have a pizza without cheese, and after consulting her colleagues came back to tell us that there is milk in the pizza base. Very odd and definitely not an authentic Italian base recipe. We asked "Are you sure?" to which she went off in a bit of a flurry, leaving us to wonder what was to happen next. We should have left then.

Following was a conversation that made everyone at the table uncomfortable. We were made to feel like we were being unreasonable, and even told how difficult it must be everywhere when we eat out. Truth is, it's not difficult. I can honestly say, these days most restaurants and cafes are aware there are people who have allergies to dairy, or gluten or are vegetarian, vegan or health nuts and they eat out. I was presented with options that clearly did not fit with what I had explained "So you don't eat seafood then?" We should have left then.

Eventually we picked this from the menu as all the options the waitress offered us had meat in them: bruschetta with fresh buffalo mozzarella, roma tomato, red onion and basil leaves on toasted ciabatta with sticky balsamic without the cheese instead of the vegetarian pizza. The waitress asked if I wanted something instead of the cheese, and I thought that was nice of her to offer. I asked for avocado. But it was hard work. We also could see the staff gossiping about our table and looking at us in that way you look at aliens (you know the look?)

The meals came out and everyone at our table was disappointed. The pizza was described as bland and uninteresting. The bruschetta was unseasoned (and I don't believe it was ciabatta bread). The fries were, well fries, they were good.

The prices are expensive. The pizza was small (for one) and ours cost $22.90. The bruschetta was $14.90 and I was also charged extra for the avocado ($3.50) which just added to the insult of the whole experience. We could have had dessert or coffee, but instead we left and went to another restaurant within the west end of Crown.

As we sat down at Baci, someone said "We shoulda come here", and they were right. Helpful staff, friendly service, and so many interesting menu options (more than double the choices of pizza for example) to chose from, even for the vegan.
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Why? Conveniently located in Southbank, on the Yarra
When: Open everyday from 8am on weekends, and 9am during the week
Phone: 03 92927824
Where: 8 Whiteman street, Southbank
Cost: Expensive, for example pizza (for one) starts at $19.90, or $36 for 250 GM grilled eye fillet
Your Comment
I love how you say 'we should have left then' throughout the review, it made me laugh because I can completely relate. I definitely have those thoughts when less than impressed with a venue and am wondering what kind of service / quality of food I will get. I sympathise!
by Cassandra A (score: 1|33) 1303 days ago
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