[I had written this post, queued it for publication, then went there again just recently – the menu has changed! The burger menu I so loved (see below) is whittled down, to the detriment of my all-time favourite…]
If there’s one place near work that I embrace as my regular haunt, it’s Cafe Stax on Little La Trobe Street. I usually cut through Literature Lane, and mosey past two places I frequent less often (WE Cafe [Taiwanese] and Wonderbao).
The first few times I went to Stax, it was because other people had organised meetings or lunches there. While the food and prices were consistently good, I didn’t really like the downstairs seating – too close and noisy. It felt too small.
Then I discovered there was an upstairs!
The upstairs section is rarely brimming with people, much lighter, and had corrugated cardboard furniture. Walls are papered in old comics. I was sold. It’s the first place I suggest to meet anyone.
Though space is at a premium at Stax, the menu is extensive: soups, all manner of burgers, wraps and sandwiches, fish and chips, pasta dishes, salads… I rarely stray from the burgers, but I have tried a few of the things there and they’ve all ranged from fine to really good.
Burger #4 is my favourite, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post:
Burger 4 – Moroccan marinated chicken thigh, grilled haloumi, lettuce, tomato and harissa mayonnaise.
It’s the haloumi and harissa mayo that really lifts this one, and the fact that they use chicken thigh. Most of the reason why I never have chicken burgers is because places tend to use the chicken breast, which I always find too dry/dense/thick. This Stax burger, though, is always tasty and just right. Sometimes, they get super generous with the haloumi. Those are good days.
I try to wean myself off Burger #4 every second visit, but I don’t always succeed. it’s a keeper.
[Further to my earlier note: This burger is no longer on the menu – they do have a 4th burger on the list but it’s a “haloumi burger”, by which I thought they meant a normal burger + slices of haloumi. Meh! Wrong guess. What they meant was a haloumi burger: brioche bun, salad-y stuff, and a thick slab of haloumi. A vegetarian burger. I am not a vegetarian burger eater…]
Another aspect of this cafe that I like is that the service is always very good: friendly, fast, efficient. I’ve never had a hassle with any of my orders (and I’ve been many times now), and the delivery and clearing of food/drink is quick and unobtrusive.
My only caveat about the cafe is that I’ve only ever had lunch there, not breakfast. And an important element, without which I couldn’t be a return customer: Stax coffee is consistently good. [<– I don’t think this has changed – same people running it; just a menu re-vamp]