Shop 3/4 Avoca St
South Yarra, VIC 3141
03 9866 7522
Whilst over 100,000 punters were at Flemington Racecourse on the first Tuesday in November, their hopes pinned on backing a winner in the Melbourne Cup, M & I enjoyed a lazy lunch in our new hood. Well, it’s our new hood together (I used to live here for years before I moved in with him just up the road in Windsor) & we are keen to check out as many local spots as possible and take advantage of everything we could ever want being within walking distance.
Cafe Gaia is tucked away, just off Toorak Road (between Punt Rd & Chapel St) and is a perfect haven for those wanting to escape the hustle and bustle. Creeping vines cover the front of an open deck which is sheltered from the elements, while the interior is fresh, modern and offers an inviting place to relax with a newspaper and a coffee.
When I first came across Cafe Gaia I had intended on going there for brunch, and although they offer late brunches on weekends (and on public holidays it seemed), we had already eaten breakkie and wanted a proper lunch. M glanced at the menu and his mind was made up within seconds….. Pork Belly Sandwich ($16.50). I don’t think he even continued to look at other options as soon as his eyes locked on that. We saw other sandwiches being brought out from the kitchen and I could definitely see the appeal! I was lucky enough to be allowed a bite of the porky gold and was immediately struck down with a severe case of menu envy. The thick slices of toasted, buttery bread! The sweet, moreish beetroot relish & crunchy apple slaw! And of course, the tender shavings of juicy, succulent, deliciously delectable pork belly!!!! I am going to go as far as saying this was THE.BEST.SANDWICH.EVER. I knew at that moment that my healthy choice of salad was sure to disappoint.
And so as was expected, my salad was a little underwhelming by comparison. “Gaia’s Famous Chicken Salad” ($19.50) was probably the healthiest option on the menu and consisted of rocket, shaved zucchini, squash, pinenuts, seeds and free-range chicken. It was a pretty good salad and I did enjoy it, but there was a certain flavour through it that I wasn’t entirely keen on. I am not 100% sure, but it could have been the aged sherry vinaigrette. Either way, I don’t think that the king of salads could have cured me from the acute menu envy I was suffering.
As I had been so good with my healthier choice, I decided to splurge on dessert and opted for the pear, prune, blueberry and fig crumble ($12). The crumble was made up of a variety of chopped nuts (mainly pistachio) and had a delicate, not-too-sweet flavour. I really enjoyed the combination of fruit but was a bit perplexed that there was not a single blueberry to be found.
Overall: It was a lovely experience sitting on a deck, surrounded by vines and trees in the middle of South Yarra. The wait staff were friendly and attentive and even got into the spirit of cup day and wore hats and fascinators on their heads. The food was fresh, tasty and not overpriced considering the location. I cannot wait to go back and try out the brunch menu….and another pork belly sandwich!!
Thanks for reading!