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Amiri Cafe

Posted in Melbourne

Promisingly green matcha pictures from Amiri Cafe had appeared on social media feeds, so it was flagged for a visit when next in the CBD. It is located in QV Melbourne, on one of the eatery rows framing the central square.

amiri cafe outside
A view of the exterior of Amiri Cafe, and a hint of how full it was.

It had a surprisingly large floor space, and was evidently popular on a weekend afternoon. The tables were filled when we turned up, and there was a queue of waiting patrons. The line moved fairly quickly, however, and staff were quite organised, coming out to take down details of people waiting.

When it came to our turn, we were shown to a table, and given a small clipboard with a piece of paper that had a QR code on it. We were told to scan the code to see the menu and order online, and to bring the QR code to the counter to pay at the end.

amiri cafe qr code
The clipboard and QR code.

This was a somewhat fiddly process, as many online ordering interfaces are. There were tabs with sections for savoury meals, desserts, and drinks that you could click into, and there would then be photos of the items you could order (though not all of them had photos), but after you clicked the items to get more details, clicking back to return to the main screen would bring up the popup telling you about the 90 minute time limit and surcharges each time.

amiri cafe screen
The screen we kept having to return to.

The other issue with the menu is that there doesn’t seem to be any other way to see what their offerings are before committing to actually dining at the restaurant. There are no links to their menu on their website or anywhere else easily locatable online. There is no menu on display at the entrance of the cafe, or a way to access the menu before you are given the QR code with your assigned table. For those of us who plan our dining destinations based on what the food options are, this is challenging. As we also found, there is a menu section of cakes, but that also does not include all the cake slices actually on display (and presumably available) at the counter.

amiri cafe cakes
The cakes at the counter, in an assortment of flavours.

There turned out to be fewer dessert options than we anticipated when we picked Amiri Cafe as our dessert stop (and even more limited for those with a limited dairy tolerance), but we settled on the Durian Deluxe and the Mango Musu. Unfortunately, despite what had most prominently appeared on the feeds, the only matcha dessert option was an entire matcha set, with matcha mousse, matcha tiramisu, and matcha ice cream – all dairy, and not available as individual components.

amiri cafe inside
A look at the interior of Amiri Cafe.

Despite it being packed, the high ceilings helped the eatery feel less cramped. The light tiled floors, white walls, and light wood ceiling panels also made it feel more spacious. There were also compact planters with pseudo zen gardens in between some of the rows of tables, to add to the atmosphere.

amiri cafe zen
The setup in one of the planters.

We ordered matcha lattes (on non-dairy milks) to have some matcha presence. These were a vibrant deep green on presentation, and had good richness and strength. They were certainly some of the better matcha lattes around.

amiri cafe matcha latte
One of the non dairy matcha lattes.

Another angle on the matcha latte, appropriately in a Japanese ceramic cup.

The Durian Deluxe was listed as being durian chiffon cake, durian custard coconut cream, and coconut ice cream. We appreciated the presentation, which would have taken some effort. The cake had green spikes piped on, and a stalk, so it resembled a durian portion. The durian custard cream and the coconut ice cream were served on the side. It was a surprise to find that the durian custard coconut cream was warm (how often does one have durian served hot?), but the cold of the coconut ice cream was then a good contrast. The durian flavour in the cake was more in the cream than the sponge cake itself, but it did the job.

amiri cafe durian set
The Durian Deluxe set as presented, with the durian chiffon cake, durian custard coconut cream, and coconut ice cream.
amiri cafe durian set
A closer look at the durian cake component.
amiri cafe durian set
Detailed piping all the way around..
amiri cafe durian set
A little look at the inside of the cake.

The Mango Musu was listed as being coconut and lime mousse, insert with mango lava, coconut crumble, caramelised mung bean, yellow chocolate coating, coconut sauce, and sweet sticky rice. It too was presented in the form of its key fruit component, although it was perhaps less deftly executed, with clearly uneven layers where the chocolate shell halves had not quite been aligned, ruining the illusion. The chocolate shell was properly tempered though, and when broken, revealed the light but not overly aerated mousse, and the mango pieces in the middle. The coconut crumble had a cornflakey crunch, and the green-tinted sticky rice at the base was soft with a good chew, sweet and lightly salted, and flecked with coconut as well. The coconut sauce was really coconut milk, but it did help to meld the components together, which otherwise would have been a bit dry and separate. Keeping it separate for diners to pour themselves when ready meant that the crumble didn’t go soggy too soon. There was also a nasturtium leaf that added a hint of peppery flavour.

amiri cafe mango set
The Mango Musu, with the coconut and lime mouse cake, sitting on the layer of coconut crumble and bed of sticky rice, and coconut milk on the side.
amiri cafe mango set
Another angle on it, to show the other plating elements.
amiri cafe mango set
The dish closer up, and you can, unfortunately, see the obviously uneven layers. The green sticky rice just peeks out beneath the crumble.
amiri cafe mango set
A glimpse of the inside once the chocolate shell was broken.
amiri cafe mango set
A messier picture, but after the coconut milk sauce had been poured on – the dish needed it.

Despite the prices (mid $20s for each dessert dish, and then the weekend surcharge), they were quite good desserts with lots of components that were evidently considered combinations. Waitstaff were clearly busy, but efficient, and always seemed cheerful. We noticed, however, that no one was brought water unless you specifically went up and asked for it. This may be eatery practice to encourage people to buy drinks – we were given the water in paper cups. Given the price point of items, this seemed to be cutting corners, and diminished the experience a bit. Overall, the dining experience at Amiri Cafe was not bad, but it is possibly one for an occasional indulgence rather than regular visits, unless you also have deep pockets.

Food: 3.5/4
Setting: 1/2
Service: 1/2
Total: 5.5/8

Price point: As above, $20+ for each dessert, $7+ for each matcha latte (extra for non dairy milks), and weekend surcharge. Over $70 for desserts and drinks for 2 people.

Value: Questionable..

Address: Shop R02, 14 Cnr Lonsdale Street, QV, Melbourne CBD
Phone: TBA
Website: Amiri Cafe

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