Continuing our series in Cafes Named After Songs By Bands That Have Profoundly Affected Hayley’s Life, Jen and I recently investigated the scruffy interloper in the shiny Domain Road strip, My Legendary Girlfriend. If you don’t know that it’s named after a Pulp song, god help you, because your life is bereft of meaning. Would this be a cafe worthy of he that is on high, our one stylish and true savior and also my future husband (I live in hope, guys, it’s totally going to happen), Jarvis Cocker? There was only one way to find out – we busted out our best giant sunglasses, elbowed the Sunday morning joggers and standard South Yarra beautiful people out of the way and sauntered down there.
It was quite busy as we arrived, and being our first visit we weren’t quite sure whether we were meant to wait to be seated, or had to grab spots ourselves. We hovered for a moment or two, as a few waitresses zoomed past us resolutely refusing to meet our expectant gazes. Eventually a waitress behind the front counter called out brusquely to us “Just grab a seat, okay?” We did so, although were side-eying each other hugely with wordless expressions of “Wow, that was rude.” Not the best start.
Luckily the waitress looking after the section we ended up seating ourselves in was a bubbly delight, seemingly in contrast to the rest of the staff. Looking at the design of the place, it definitely seems to be expressing a more shabby and laid-back cool look than most of the other super shiny and slick eateries along this particular strip of South Yarra, making it a more comforting a space for my sensibilities.
For savoury both Jen and I decided upon the smashed avocado with feta on toast with an added poached egg. Ginormous amounts of bonus points first of all for not only having the cheapest add-on poached egg in Melbourne ($2!!!), but also for serving a proper serrated knife alongside so that cutting through the crusty toast didn’t become an exercise in masochism. A giant mountain of creamy, feta-ry avocado came out, strangely crowned with slices of fresh chilli, which led to an impassioned discussion about clueless people who insist on asking for fresh chilli to accompany cuisines that don’t require it (note from Jen the industry professional: if you do this in a Korean or Japanese restaurant, you are an idiot. I would have thought something like this wouldn’t have needed clarifying, but it seems I live to be constantly disappointed by the human race).
Now I have eaten a lot of smashed avocado dishes in my time – I mean, you can’t brunch in Melbourne frequently without finding it on every other menu – but this version was easily one of the best ones I’ve encountered. It was beautifully creamy, the avocado and feta having been combined together so it was perfectly textured, there wasn’t too much bread so it was all just lovely smooth piles of green and cheese. Pop the poached egg yolk, and there you have heaven. The chilli slices are still weird, though.
We decided to balance all the avocado-egg goodness with something refreshing and sweet to share, and ordered the red fruit salad: watermelon cubes, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries drizzled with honey syrup and a big ol’ blob of tangy labne. This was just what was required, a properly refreshing, very virtuous breakfast.
I also ordered a chai latte, but it was sadly quite tasteless, basically amounting to a glass of cinnamon-flavoured hot milk. Dang.
Given that the busy frenzy calmed reasonably as we ate, we lingered by ordering some pots of tea. We were left waiting for them for a quite a bit longer than usual, with it transpiring that the order had been forgotten about, but our bubbly waitress did what one should do when such things happen in hospo – apologised profusely but good-humouredly, admitted to fault, and as quickly as possible rectified the mistake. So from one end of our visit to the other we basically went from blatant rudeness to being cosily taken care of, it was a bit of a schizophrenic experience.
My Legendary Girlfriend was a bit of an up and down experience altogether. While the food was impressive, the lackluster drinks and wildly divergent service styles we encountered were a bit off-putting. I’d like to go again when it’s a bit quieter, maybe on a weekday, to see whether that causes it to be more of a consistent experience. But it’s still the best option to be had in that part of South Yarra, and the food is worth checking out. It might just need to ratchet itself up a notch or two to be properly worthy of Jarvis.
My Legendary Girlfriend
157 Domain Road, South Yarra
Ph: 9077 4863