Vertue Coffee Roasters was known as The Vertue of the Coffee Drink when we last reviewed it – some years ago. We thought to revisit some places we had previously been, and this, being one of the eateries we recalled enjoying, make our list. (See the tale of our previous visit here, under its previous name.)
It was much easier to find it this time, as we know it was down that hidden alley behind the Shell station on Elgin Street.
The interior was much the same as before, apart from that they have removed the coffee roaster which had occupied a prominent space in the dining area.
The dish we had found most delicious was still there on the menu, the Return of the Mac. Being the most appealing, we both decided to order it (so no one has to fight over food).
We decided to start with caffeination.
The iced matcha latte turned out to be a bad idea. It was also a tiny serving size, and $1 extra for soy milk. The matcha was not only lumpy rather than mixed through, but tasted like off seafood instead of grassy or earthy. We had to leave most of it behind. We had hoped that, being supposed purveyors of coffee, they would have similar respect for the other caffeinated drinks they serve. Disappointingly not. As a smaller point, the glass was chipped, and had a sharp edge.
The iced latte was alright, but a tiny serve in a tiny cup – significantly smaller than a typical serving size.
The Return of the Mac itself was not bad. They now served it as two smaller mac and cheese croquettes instead of one large one. The croquettes were nicely crisp on the outside, and had a good amount of cheese on the inside. The smoked ham hock had lovely smoky flavour, without being too salty. If anything, it could have done with a little more salt. Our main issue with the dishes were that they were lukewarm rather than hot. This wasn’t because we were taking lots of photos, as we figured that we already photographed it in enough detail before, and just needed review images this time.
It was also very noisy. At the risk of sounding generations older, the music was too loud for the space. Staff were also sorting cutlery nearby at the time, and were throwing them into the trays seemingly one by one, so there was endless extra clatter. It was quite an unpleasant setting.
The extra 10% weekend surcharge added insult to injury. For one dish and one (undersized) drink per person, it came to almost $70 in total. That definitely pushes the love.
While we previously rated Vertue Coffee Roasters as a brunch spot to hunt down, this visit, unfortunately, has dropped it right off our list.
Food: 2.5/4 for food, 0.5/4 for drinks
Service: 0.5/2 (the staff evidently didn’t care about the patron experience, with the extra noise continually being made right beside the dining area)
Return Of The Mac $27.50 with the surcharge. Iced latte $4.95, Soy matcha latte $6.60.
Address: 8 Raffa Place, Carlton
Phone: 03 8060 6987
Website: Vertue Coffee Roasters