538 Heidelberg Road, Alphington (map)
Ain't it always the way - I'd never been to Alphington before and then I went twice in one week! First to Paladarr Thai Issan and then to APTE. When we shared an office last year J always used to wax lyrical about his local, APTE (he pronounced it "apt-ee"), and insist that I ought to review it for Melbourne Gastronome. Then best-friend-K started raving about it too (only she pronounced it "apt").
I'm still not clear on how it's meant to be pronounced (does anyone know?), but I do know that it's an acronym that stands for A Place To Eat, and that it's the sister cafe of Hawthorn's Liar Liar. I went one bustling Sunday morning a few weekends ago with b-f-K. Oh, but I should point out for the record that when I visited APTE I was suffering a monstrous, heinous, soul-destroying hangover... I'm amazed the photos are in focus.
We arrived at about 11 and the place was packed, with several groups waiting for tables and a seemingly endless supply of waiters sprinting from one end of the cafe to the other. It was chaos, but it was cheerful chaos. Nonetheless, I took in the polished concrete floors, the babble of conversations, the shrieking of babies and the barrista banging various metal objects, and quickly told b-f-K that with my head in the state that it was, it'd have to be a table in the back courtyard or nothing.
B-f-K ordered the smoked Tasmanian salmon with a pea, feta and corn fritter, avocado, rocket and a dill sour cream ($15.50). A very b-f-K sort of dish. I had a taste, it was bloody lovely - the additions of feta and pea made the corn fritter really interesting.
I ordered the toasted house made banana and coconut bread with honey labna, pistachios and roasted seasonal fruit ($13.50). Should have been a winner, right? After all, I adored a very very similar dish I had last year at Porgie & Mr Jones... Ah, but I wasn't hungover then. I'm afraid that although this looked and smelled amazing, in the state I was in this dish defeated me in about five minutes. I ate about a third of it, and felt ill. And I never thought I'd say this, but there IS such a thing as too much labna - too much, too rich. Too hungover, which is most unfair to APTE as I'm sure that this dish is in fact quite lovely in normal circumstances.
Food blogger FAIL, I know. Maybe it's best if you just judge from the pictures for this one, eh?
I don't have any kids, but if I did I'd be pretty happy to see these ample toyboxes at APTE. Bet the place is swarming with yummy mummies at about 10am on a weekday.