Darling Cafe, South Yarra

11/26/2017 , 0 Comments

Darling Cafe is a small eatery location on Darling St, the street down from South Yarra station towards the city and also easily accessible by trams 1 and 8. The Asian inspired cafe has a good range of western style breakfast and lunch dishes, as well as a wok section for lunch dishes and a display cabinet of desserts.

The atmosphere at Darling is very lively and vibrant, and the decor is simple with a few plants hanging on the walls on one side, and lights over the communal table on another. Large windows allow plenty of natural light to enter the cafe, which is very brightly lit. We went around 12:30pm on a Sunday and luckily there was only about a five minute wait for a table, however they did put us on a table that was clearly meant for two people even though there were three of us, and so two of us who sat on the one side together ended up being pretty squashed which was quite uncomfortable.

As there weren't any particularly eye-catching breakfast dishes, we decided to go with lunch options and ordered the Prawn Stir Fry ($19) and the Grilled Honey Chicken ($20). The prawn stir fry was served with mild chilli, roasted cashew nuts, asian greens and jasmine rice. The prawns themselves were fresh and had nice elasticity, and there was a generous serving of vegetables to go with it. Initially it felt like there wasn't enough sauce to go with the large amount of rice, however by the end of the dish the sauce actually felt a bit too much; it was too sweet and didn't go quite well with the rest of the dish. The chilli was served on the side of the dish, so if you're not a fan of spicy food you can simply pick it out and still enjoy it, which was good.

The grilled honey sesame chicken breast was served with sweet potato chips on the side, as well as broccolini, baby carrot and a mango chutney. The pieces of chicken breast were quite thick, so it ended up being really dry, and there wasn't much flavour in it apart from a subtle honey taste. The mango chutney was an interesting use; most chutneys I've had are a tomato base, and this, although a fruit base as well, didn't go quite well with the chicken. More vegetables on the side would've balanced the dish out better, to make it a bit lighter or fresh, as overall it felt quite heavy a dish. The sweet potato chips on the side had good flavour, though like the chicken was quite burnt which was disappointing. Overall, not a very satisfying dish.

Given the amount of positive things I'd heard about Darling Cafe, our experiences were a bit of a let down. Perhaps we should've gone with the breakfast dishes and maybe we would've had more luck.

Ambience: 7/10
Service: 7.5/10
Food: 7/10

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