Saturday, October 11, 2008

Cafe Vue - Cocktail Night

Claire was the pioneer and showed everyone how it was done a few times, then Cindy and Michael took the plunge, followed by Agnes who also enjoyed it. I'm talking about Cafe Vue's weekly friday Cocktails Night. There is a constantly changing menu each month, with a theme to match.

Seeing how everyone was enjoying it so much, I decided to get in on the act as well. I enjoy a cocktail, even if cocktails are a bit girly. It doesn't matter. A good cocktail is a great mixture of flavours that enhance the individual alcoholic elements in it. As the saying goes, it is "greater than the sum of it's parts".

Arriving before the official start time, John, Mia, Esther, Kin and myself were crammed into a four person table in the alley between the cafe and street. The seating wasn't the most comfortable as three of us had to squeeze into a seat clearly for two. The bench seats also meant our backs were quite painful by the end of the night. We were also right near the door that lead into the small back court where the smokers were. Seeing as all of us didn't smoke, it wasn't pleasant when someone opened the door and smoke wafted towards us at the speed of sound (or possibly a bit slower).

Seating complaints aside, the rest of the night was enjoyable. It was a tad dark (and regular readers will know I don't like dark restaurants) but in this occasion, it was probably just right. We were having cocktails primarily and the low lighting felt right. The service (contrary to Kin's objections) was quite good. They did check that we had our water refilled and that we didn't require anything. Obviously, the service is not as flash as in Vue de Monde where the service was impeccable. But it was casual and light hearted without being lazy.

The cocktail theme for the night was the Caribbean, and every cocktail contained rum. I'm a huge fan of rum so was looking forward to it.

The night started off with a Puerto Rican Special. Here's the problem with writing posts way after the event. You forget things. There was an explanation for the name of the drink, something about people smuggling rum out of Puerto Rico during a war or something. Bascially the drink was Bacardi rum mixed with orange liquer and rind. The matching food was Clams and scallop with corn puree. I loved this dish as the sea flavours worked well with the corn puree. The cocktail was quite good, but not something I would order by itself again.

The second cocktail of the night was a La Florida Rum Daisy. It was again Bacardi rum mixed with fruit punch and finished with a glace cherry and mint. This cocktail was very fruity and I liked it. It was paired with a Foie gras hot dog. I thought a hot dog roll would literally be filled with foie gras (how silly of me, as if you would get so much foie gras for what is already a great value for money meal) but instead it was a hot dog that didn't taste much like foie gras. The hot dog didn't taste too different to a normal hot dog.

The third cocktail was an Olaffsons Fix (you need to pronounce Olafssons with some throat spit action the waiter joked). It was an aged Havana rum with some fruit juice I can't remember, vegetable gluten (whatever that is, I asked the waiter but he wasn't sure) and topped with cinnamon. I liked the taste of this cocktail but wasn't sure if I could taste the vegetable gluten or not. The matching food was the best (or at least a tie since I have a biased to desserts) dish of the night. It was Roasted baby vegetables filled with a duck mince. The dish was presented on this very cool artist palette plate and each vegetable looked like a dab of paint, very clever.

The fourth cocktail was a Coopers Ranch Punch. As the theme was the Caribbean, again it was Bacardi rum mixed with fruit juice. This time it was guava juice with jelly guava strips. I love guava juice so hence this was my favourite cocktail of the night. The matching food though I didn't really like. It was Cheddar cheese with a peeled jellied grape on rye. The combination of flavours wasn't really to my liking, as the rye dominated the flavours.

By the fifth cocktail and a quick mobile phone chat outside, I had lost my blogging focus and tucked into the Grand Marnier creme caramel with guava soup before Kin reminded me to take a photo. This dessert had all of my favourite elements. I love Grand Marnier, creme caramel and guava juice. I would have never guessed they would all be combined in one dessert. Needless to say, I enjoyed the ultra smooth creme caramel immensely and drank up all the guava soup. The matching cocktail was a Black Stripe, a mixture of aged rum with whisky. The warm cocktail sure packed a punch and was a powerful end to the night. Esther was feeling the effects of the cocktail so gave her drink to Kin and I, and we lapped it up with joyful glee.

Overall, I thought the night was good. The seating, as mentioned, wasn't ideal. The drinks and food were good and I think worth the $75. I would go back again depending on the cocktails and food. Service on a whole was quite good. Ambience was a bit lacking in the corridor area.

Overall Rating: 14/20, A fun night to be had with some tasty cocktails.

Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20:Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.

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  1. Heh, I like being referred to as a pioneer! :)

    I haven't been to a Cafe Vue cocktail night since the Tequila Madness one at the start of winter, but I am seriously excited about this month's, and will probably be going there with the gals on Friday. Hooray!

  2. Hm, I had been planning on having the degustation at Vue de Monde for my birthday next year, but now I'm thinking I might go for the Friday Cocktails Night instead!

  3. Light-hearted but not lazy - that's a great description of the service!

    Glad you made it to one of these nights, it's always interesting to see what new drinks and dishes they're coming up with. :-)

  4. Claire, yep you were the pioneer who introduced us all to these great cocktail nights.

    I must say that this month's classic cocktails does have me very very interested.

    Maffy, it depends what type of birthday you want to have. If you want really fine food in a classy environment, go the degustation. If you want a more relaxed meal where you can drink lots of booze, do the cocktail night.

    Cindy, the staff were really friendly, which I liked.

    They are always so inventive at Vue. If only I had an endless supply of cash to go eat there more often.