Highett is to Hampton as Carlton is to Brunswick: it’s not quite as hip, but it’s catching up fast. The Highett shops have long been a conglomeration of laundromats and tax agents, but these days they boast a couple of shimmering oases of food and activity. Blue Dish is one of those places.
It’s not what you’d expect from an average looking corner shop. Rather than selling out of date Milko bars and cheap cigarettes, Blue Dish has a very fine array of French delicacies. Yes, French! Benchtops bow under the weight of dense sourdough loaves and wobbly vanilla slices and children press their faces against the glass in awe of rainbow macaron rows. The air travels in thick streams of coffee and sugar and toast and butter. It’s a shrine to delicious baked goods.
The menu is standard fare, with all the usual suspects present. On this particular day, I chose Pacific Eggs, so named because spinach grows in the ocean. The people I had with me variously ordered pancakes, croissant and muesli. Then we sat at our table in the most high traffic part of the cafe and played a game wherein we earned points for every person who bumped into us (1 point), kicked out chair (2 points) or landed their person on us (10 points).
Our food arrived, as it often does, and then we ate it with our mouths. My spinach was sufficiently wilted and my salmon was sufficiently smoked. The eggs were slightly underdone, but the heady flow of golden yolk more than made up for it. Let this be a message to all cafes – the quality of your produce is more important than whether or not it’s actually cooked. Having said that, the hollandaise was a bit like vinegar custard, which I’m sure you can imagine is quite a delicacy, especially when served with trifle.
Extra points to Blue Dish for keeping my book safe after I left it clear as day on the table when I left. When I returned the next day to pick it up (it is a VERY lovely book), they had stored it with some new book friends in their Welsh dresser. I was so relieved I bought even more macarons.