Oscar Cooper, Prahran

Oscar Cooper is a cafe in Prahran on Greville St., about a five minute walk from Prahran Station and tram 78/79 on Chapel St. It prides itself on the use of Victorian produce, and has a range of menu items that can be made gluten free to cater to those with dietary requirements.

The cafe itself isn't very big, but looks quite spacious and doesn't feel clustered, and there's also seating outside. Benches run along two sides of the cafe facing outwards, and there's also a large communal table in the middle and tables for two and four people along another wall. There's not much decorations on the walls, though one whole wall is designed with bricks, and there's large windows allowing natural light to seep in, making the whole place very bright. The soft music, together with the chatter from all the groups of people and the sounds of the kitchen, make for a warm atmsophere.

We went at 11:30am on a Sunday and were told there would be a 30-40 minute wait for a table, but luckily we managed to get one within 15-20 minutes as there was only two of us. The staff were friendly with great service; upon sitting down, we were told which member of staff would be looking after us for our meal, and they also poured the water for us. We did have to wait over half an hour for our food though, and our drinks took a while as well. Initially a staff member took our drinks order when we had sat down, but it didn't come for some time, and another staff asked us again when she took our food order, and told us they'd probably forgotten about our drinks.

The breakfast menu is all day at Oscar Cooper, and the lunch menu begins at 11:30. There's a good range of dishes for the breakfast menu, but a lot of them have avocado in it (as some of you may know, I'm not the biggest avo fan!), so I decided to go with the Roast Chicken Paella ($18) from the lunch menu. My friend also ordered from the lunch menu; lamb slides with fries ($17.50), and we also got a Golden Pash Juice ($5) and a Berry Smoothie ($9). The golden pash consisted of pineapple, apple, orange and passionfruit, and was a really light and refreshing drink. It tasted like a tropical juice, with lots of passionfruit seeds down the bottom of the drink. I did have to keep mixing the juice as the foam and the juice kept separating as I was drinking it. The berry smoothie is a dairy free drink, made with blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, jam, sorbet and almond milk. You could really taste the sorbet and jam flavours, and the smoothie had just the right amount of thickness to it. Like the juice, the smoothie also had lots of small seeds in it.

The roast chicken paella also consisted of chorizo and calamari, and was served in a hot pot with ciabatta bread on the side. I felt that the paella itself was a little bland, and I had to add salt to it and the lemon wedge for more flavour. When you had it with the other elements of the dish though, it tasted fine. The chorizo had lots of flavour and was a bit spicy, so might not be for everyone. I really enjoyed the calamari as it was extremely soft and didn't have any of the skin membrane that you sometimes find, and the chicken was also lovely and soft. The tomatoes helped give the paella some flavour as it was quite sour, and the slice of ciabatta bread also went well with the rest of the dish to add filling.

The lamb sliders also consisted of asian slaw and sriracha mayo, and was served with a side of fries. We were a bit unsure why the menu stated the sliders were 'sticky' when it was just like a normal slider, though the lamb was cooked well and not chewy. It was sort of like eating pulled pork, but with lamb instead of pork. There was just the right amount of asian slaw to balance out the meat but not be overpowering, though my friend couldn't taste the sriracha mayo in the burger at all. The burger bun was nice and soft and didn't become soggy, though was a little on the sweet side. The fries had some salt on it but felt quite bland by itself, though tasted really great with some tomato sauce.

Both my friend and I thought that the portions were okay, and if you were feeling really hungry, you'd probably have to order something else to feel full. The drinks were quite generous sizes though; the juice was quite a large serving given it was only $5, whereas a lot of other cafes charge $6/7 just for an orange juice. If I were to come back to Oscar Cooper again, it would be to try their breakfast menu, as the two items we had from the lunch menu were just average. It did seem like most people were ordering from the breakfast menu when we were there, as this is probably what it's most well known for.

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