I can’t help thinking when we’ve scooted down the alleyway at the bottom of Monaco House that this would be a pretty good secret spot for a bit of a liaison of sorts. I just love that word.
My lunching partner C and I figured this was definitely worth a try – not too far to walk from work at lunchtime (ah, this lunch hour is closely guarded!) and with the enticement of a good coffee to finish (or finish me off, as it were). I definitely appreciate a good hidden gem, so I’m always up for a treasure hunt down some of Melbourne’s laneways.
It’s a very small and vibrantly coloured space, with the ‘kitchen’ in the middle, with a bar-like set-up around. This is a good catch-up place for two people (hard to talk when you’re seated 3 or more in a row) or a take-away destination – Liaison has quite a few sandwiches and staples on offer, as well as a number of lunch dishes (and a soup of the day).
I ordered the tuna rice salad, which is touted as a specialty of sorts. It doesn’t look so huge, but it is perfect for a lunch serving, packed with cold rice (I have no way to make that sound more appetising, but to me that is fun – I’m one of those freaks that adores cold pasta and rice right out of the fridge from the leftovers), cherry tomatoes, capers, olives and egg. It punches you with a hit of lemon and off you go. I would definitely come back for this, but maybe on a hot summer day.
C was bullied into ordering the meatball wrap (which was warmed through and toasted) because that was certainly going to be more interesting than a chicken sanga… Confronted with hot food on a cold winter day it was pretty irresistable, especially with the heady delicious smell wafting over to my seat.
Most importantly, we both ordered a coffee. I’m not surprised I inhaled my super-hot latte, it was that kind of a day, but it was really richly delicious and certainly the right kind of strength. As we sat there, we also noted that they have a $2 takeaway coffee after 2pm deal, which we figured is a pretty viable option if you have the extra few minutes to walk there in the afternoon. In all, satisfying.
Value for money: 8/10
Score (food is weighted double): 78%
Would you believe, I returned the next morning to grab a coffee on my way through as I’d caught the train into town. To my absolute horror, the coffee was awful. It was a different barrista, to be sure, but this coffee wasn’t rich, strong and warming (sounds like my kind of man), it was like having my taste buds dragged over bitumen, with an aftertaste of ash. I was so disappointed after such a good coffee the day before and I’m willing to give it another go in the afternoon at a discount, so I don’t feel too poor if I need to throw out another one.