When I was a little girl, I had a dream of living in an igloo, being friends with a bunch of eskimos and go dog sledding around the snowy hills outside. But problem after problem surfaced that the kid me had to finally give up that dream. How in the world do I survive in that chill? Do they even have heaters? Isn’t the bed very hard? Wouldn’t my pants stick to the chair when I sat down? Would they even need a fridge? The only thing that seemed good about the idea is having an endless supply of shaved ice and the possibility of making sorbet just by pouring flavours on the ground. Well, that dream was short lived.
The name Ice Cafe made me think of my childhood dream, much like Chill On Ice Lounge & Ski Lodge on Russell St did. However, it wasn’t at all icy. In fact, it was a comfy warm little place full of cushions and couches. Well, maybe the only thing that makes it a little on the ‘cold’ side is the layout of the tables and crockery. At least my pants didn’t stick to those cushions as we ate our lovely meal :D.
The cafe is small to say the least but apparently it’s very popular with the locals for a great tasting breakfast or lunch and as we found out, it was also fantastic for dinner. Why were there no people in the cafe you ask? It wasn’t because it was too cold, but rather because this well hidden little gem is tucked away on quiet Cato St, just off the corner of Malvern Rd in Prahran, so they probably don’t get as much foot traffic as they’d like – shame!
Our meal, you guessed it, was from a coupon yet again. I know, I’ve been desperately trying to use up all the coupons I bought at the end of last year which are all expired or expiring. This time it was a great bargain because for $25 per person, we got an entree, main, side, wine AND dessert. That’s a lot of food. I literally couldn’t even walk when we finished.
We were given the choice of either a Geoff Merrill “Pimpala Road” Chardonnay 2008 or a Grant Burge “gb51” Cabernet Shiraz 2008 for wines. We’re both not big wine drinkers, but for the sake of the blog post, we got one each. 😀 I liked the chardonnay more as I thought the shiraz was a tad on the dry side for me. But one’s white and one’s red so you can’t really compare right? I have no idea what I’m saying. I definitely need to touch up on some wine knowledge.
We were also given complimentary bread with butter like most places do. The bread was fantastic, although it was just normal white bread, it was soft in the centre and was very fresh. For some strange reason, I didn’t have a big appetite that day so just to be safe, I only ate half of the bread at the start of the meal. It was sad to not eat my bread, but it was definitely a wise decision.
To make it easy, Yuye and I chose one each from the menu for all the courses. For entree, Yuye got the pumpkin and feta tart with salad. We both agreed that the layer of pastry at the bottom of the salad was too oily and a bit too crunchy (meaning it was probably overcooked). However, in my opinion (not Yuye’s), the flavours were just perfect. The rocket leaves worked in great harmony with the goats cheese and caramelised onions. As the pumpkin was sweet, it also went perfectly with the dish as a whole. A simple yet stunning dish. This set the standard for the rest of the night and was by far my favourite dish. It was also nicely presented with rocket piled up high.
I got the potato and cauliflower soup. I loved it, again. Yuye, not so much. I thought it was exactly like the pumpkin soup that mum loves to make at home – all buttery and slightly chunky. I could taste little bits of un-mashed potatoes and cauliflower which gave it a nice texture. Yuye thought it was way too buttery, just like what he thinks about mum’s pumpkin soup. Everyone’s taste differs I suppose. The dish was slightly lacking in presentation however and looked dull compared to Yuye’s tart. Maybe a sprinkle of something green might have made it a bit nicer?
By then I was already feeling a bit full but I pushed on as our mains arrived. Yuye ordered the braised chicken pie with prosciutto and rocket salad. Not the best dish of the night that’s for sure because we were both expecting a thick, chunky pie filling underneath that pastry. However, not only was the pastry oily and hard just like its predecessor, the filling was soupy and not salty enough. It would have been a very hearty and warm meal, perfect for the cold winter night so I was just that little bit disappointed. We still liked the flavour though, with a little extra salt, it made quite a nice chicken soup. There was so much salad on the side as well! I was amazed.
My main was a lot better. It was the lamb shanks with mash and peas. The food would have been quite bland without the sauce as the peas weren’t salted at all, however, the sauce was just beautiful. I liked it so much that I pretty much wiped all the sauce off the plate and when I let Yuye taste, there was hardly any sauce left! He said ‘it’s not as good as you say’ but I just had to reply ‘trust me on this one’. Maybe I should have asked for a bit of extra sauce.
Can you believe we also got two sides? GOSH. We got rosemary potatoes and coz & radish salad with white balsamic dressing. The potatoes were definitely not salted, however, I could distinctly taste the rosemary infused flavours. The salad was crisp, fresh and tasty, a perfect combination with my lamb shanks. Too bad we were both SO full from all the food that we just couldn’t help but leave a bit unfinished. I’m sorry!
My god was I full. I was tempted to tell the waiter that I didn’t want the desserts anymore. No, that would have been such a mistake. After eating the sticky date pudding at Flare, I was all addicted to it and the thought of eating another one was tempting enough to say yes to dessert. I found the pudding to be less sweet than Flare’s and was quite moist. It totally spelt P.E.R.F.E.C.T. Well, almost perfect. If I wasn’t so full, maybe I would have enjoyed it more, and if it had vanilla ice cream to go with it. That white stuff behind it was just cream. Yuye had to polish it off on my behalf. Sad :(.
The other dessert was a chocolate brownie with mascarpone. The brownie was topped with orange slices and what seemed to be mascarpone. However, it really just tasted like cream to me. I was expecting a rich, dense brownie when I dug in but to my surprise, it wasn’t that sweet at all! I believe the pastry chef doesn’t like to put that much sugar in their desserts which is a good thing for me. It didn’t feel as filling nor as fattening as I ate it. However, again, I was too full and had to leave a little bit behind. I’m sorry again!
Just to be suicidal (no really, it went well with the dessert), I decided to get a latte as well. I had read online that Ice Cafe makes beautiful coffees so I just had to try one. And people were correct! The coffee was fantastic by unanimous vote which made a great ending to our great meal.
Although there were a few minor hiccups such as the not so perfect pastry and slightly soupy pie, I thought the meal overall was fantastic. Next time, I would love to go there for some breakfast and soak up the atmosphere of locals interacting with each other and enjoying a great Sunday morning.
Just one more thing, even without the coupon, I thought the prices were quite reasonable so an even bigger tick for me! 🙂
Phone: (03) 9510 8788
33 Cato St, Prahran 3181