Where: 552 Lonsdale St CBD
Contact: (03) 9670 0039
When: Monday-Friday: 7am-6pm
Dine-in and Take-away
Mustard-rubbed roast beef, gruyere cheese and caperberries baguette $11*
Gourmet take-away for the discerning CBD worker is a relatively new but fast-growing market. People want more than bad fast-food or eerily sterile food-court options. Le Traiteur is targeting this deographic with it’s fancy-come-casual food experience. Part of the Libertine franchise, the cafe has sprouted from its formal dining roots in North Melbourne and become Le Traiter in the CBD; a casual bakery café offering to take care of your breakfast, your lunch and even something take-away for dinner. They specialise in baguettes for eating-in or to snatch on the way back to the office, but they’re a far cry from franchises like Delafrance. There is not a “build-your-own” sandwich situation here at all. Trust me though, you really wouldn’t be able to come up with anything much better than the ones they have available. Things like ‘pork, sage and orange terrine, cherry tomatoes and grain mustard’ or ‘roast duck, baked pear and caramelised onion’ for example. Yet what really gives Le Traiteur an edge is that they bake their bread on premises, twice a day so it tastes incredible. Their servings are also generous and well priced ($10 takeaway/$11 dine-in).
When a friend and I visited during the week we decided to dine-in and were pleased with restaurant quality service we received, slightly exciting for the humble café-setting. We ordered the ‘Mustard-rubbed roast beef, Gruyere cheese and caperberries baguette’ and the ‘Fresh tomato and basil consommé with stilton agnolloti’. The baguette alone was immediately perfect, easily doing justice to the high quality filling. The sweet pickled caperberries were a wonderful contrast to the creamy egg mayonnaise. Next along, the soup was what you’d expect of anything French; strong and complex, yet it possessed almost an Asian twist with a zingy sour twinges. The cherry tomatoes bobbing around in the broth were tender and the agnollotti had a rich blue cheese filling. It was good to see some unusual vegetarian options like these available.
The atmosphere of Le Traiteur cannot really compare to luxurious, big sister Libertine. The little wooden tables and chairs aren’t comfortable for long and the music was probably stretching the casual” vibe too far (we were subjected to Jack Johnson). It is probably a place designed for fast-moving traffic, but if it had been a little cosier I would’ve stayed for coffee. Next time I might drop by for a lunch box (Baguette, drink and sweet for $15) with my keep-cup, restaurant on the run!
Fresh tomato and basil consommé, stilton agnolloti ($10)*
* Apologies for the poor quality photos, I didn’t have my camera handy.