Grand Lafayette, Prahran, Melbourne
Looks can be deceiving when it comes to Grand Lafayette. The pictures and (some) reviews spoke such grand things, but it wasn’t quite delivered in our brunch experience. The cafe aims for some Instagram-type hype which works for getting some types of clientele in, but the food doesn’t back up the glossy appearance.
From Port to Chapel
Chapel Street is a super competitive brunch scene. Grand Lafayette was originally in Port Melbourne before finding its way over to Prahran. It’s rather nestled away in a side street off Chapel, so it is rather easy to miss. It’s actually a huge cafe too, but it was mostly empty for our few hours dining here so slightly chilly in that way.
We ordered a mix of bao (how wacky for breakfast) right along with the signature matcha French toast. My friend and I were both gunning for this, thankfully. Despite the low numbers of customers somehow service was shaky and our baos took over half an hour to arrive. Then the other baos we ordered were completely forgotten. The baos were $5 a pop so not cheap at all. Factoring out the price I did like the bao, but not $5 like it. Of the two varieties we ate, we preferred the pork over the fried eggplant with sweet chilli sauce. It’s a minimum two order hence the coupling.
Not so grand
Grand Lafayette coffee was all fine, and the crazy matcha French Toast was a bit of a highlight and a disappointment. That’s because the popcorn caramel garnish was completely inedible. It’s a solid brick of popcorn which was dangerous to break to eat. And also, they leave un-popped and thus inedible, kernels in it too? Just seems cruel. The toast was yummy and I like the heaping of the matcha. The menu at Grand Lafayette is much too big to be good, but they have a few successes in some of the fusion Asian flavours. There’s other weird Instagram gimmicks, like cocktails off a drip (kinda offensive to me) and other pretty things that may or may not taste great.
Even in leaving Grand Lafayette there’s a last little sting in the credit card surcharge. Surely something that could be factored in to the $20-ish charged per plate of food, as so many other establishments too. I did enjoy the French toast from these guys so I could come back for that (minus the popcorn) but everything else I can skip.