Where: 617 Rathdowne Street, Carlton North
When: Mon-Sat: 8am-5pm, Sun: 9am-5pm
Contact: (03) 9347 4064
CC and EFTPOS available
Korean BBQ wagyu, spring onion, house made kimchi, Korean mayo ($15)
After seeing it had featured in “The Age Good Food Under $30” list I checked out Small Victories in leafy Rathdowne Street. In the past I hadn’t found this café strip to be particularly good. As is the case in many wealthy neighbourhoods, the cafes can make money off the location alone, regardless of their quality. Small Victories impressed me with its delicious-sounding menu and the promise of “house-made pasta”. Although when I arrived I was instead won over by the rather exciting-looking “Korean BBQ” sandwich. It promised wagyu, spring onion, house-made kimchi and Korean mayo.
First up I ordered a cappuccino which showed up quickly. It certainly looked the part although disappointed with a very-weak, milky flavour. Although it was decaffeinated and not their normal single origin blend, I still expected a little more flavour than what I got.
Lunch arrived shortly after from a dead-pan waiter who was void of any enthusiasm. The Korean BBQ sandwich had quality ingredients; great beef, good ciabatta and pretty authentic kimchi (pickled vegetables). The issue was that the flavour palette was incomplete. It was all hot sauce and sour pickle and nothing else. Perhaps if the creamy flavours had been more of a feature it would’ve been okay, but the sandwich got really tedious after a couple of bites and I didn’t finish it.
Regardless of the food, Small Victories was a nice place to sit with shady footpath tables and a fairly quiet interior, complete with ambient glowing Edison bulbs and blonde wooden finishes. I fixed up the bill with the same awkward, unenthusiastic waiter who just couldn’t return a smile. Sorry Rathdowne Street, another fail.
Decaffeinated cappuccino ($4)