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The Rotunda Cafe

Home > Melbourne > Restaurants | Cafes | Coffee | Bars
by Clay Steele (subscribe)
Insouciant bon-vivant and erstwhile troubadour prone to verbose verbiage.
Published April 22nd 2012
A restaurant with 360 degree bay views on a beach front location should require booking two months in advance, unfathomable nouveau cuisine, and prices so high a pretentious waiter can't help but snigger at you when they hand over the bill.

Rotunda on Williamstown Beach certainly has the views but happily the stairs littered with boxes of soft drink leading down to the kitchen dismiss any chance of pretension. The canteen style roller window at the Rotunda's base sells passing beach goers your traditional fish and chips menu while upstairs behind the 360 degree glass the fare is slightly more genteel. Appropriately you can enjoy a wine, a beer or an espresso while overlooking the beach.

Rotunda Ext
The Rotunda, Williamstown Beach

On a sunny weekend it can prove difficult to get a seat in the small floor-space however on a weekday visit in fine conditions I still had plenty of elbow room when settling myself at a window with a wonderful view of the water.

Rotunda Window
View of the water from the Rotunda

The menu is quite extensive, the type of fare you'd find at an urbane pub - salmon, chicken parmagiana, steak - with some café items thrown in, such as baguettes.

I sampled the 'Rotunda Special' gourmet pizza. Although the crust was thicker than I usually like I was pleased by the fact that the quality mozzarella was at the base in perfect quantity and that when the menu said "anchovies" it meant I got a liberal smattering rather than some restaurants that will give you two halves of one anchovy and claim the plural in the menu is not fraud.

Rotunda Pizza
The 'Rotunda Special' Pizza

The cuisine would not set the world alight but at around $20 a main it certainly punches at the appropriate weight level. The service is excellent and the setting quite spectacular on the right day. The fish and chips downstairs and Sirens next door mean that most tastes are catered for at Williamstown Beach.
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Why? Food, drinks and bay views
When: All day
Where: The Esplanade, Williamstown Beach
Cost: Around $20 a main
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