Vault Cafe Bar Restaurant, 13 Ballarat Street, Yarraville. Phone: 9041 3361
Consider The Sauce’s senior partner spent much of last year’s grand final day in and around the Vault.
Given that sort of context, you’ll be unsurprised to learn I was way more concerned about where the next beer and the next goal were coming from rather than about chowing down.
But I did notice that there were many happy customers enjoying a range of food – mostly, IIRC, burgers and the like.
Maybe, I thought, the latest outfit to inhabit the old bank on the corner of Ballarat and Canterbury streets has shaken of the bad location karma that had seen a couple of previous businesses come and go.
It took us a while, but we’re back to find out.
We’re doing so early on a week night on which a couple of special offers are going around.
But even without them – a burger deal with drink for $18, parmigiana for $15 – we reckon the Vault is a good thing.
There’s nothing ambitious or innovative going on here.
It’s a cosy (and warm) room, the staff are on the ball and we eat well for very little outlay.
We’re not sure how anyone would go here with some of the more exotic fare, but for your more straightforward offerings, the Vault is reliably feeding people and making them happy.
Think of it as a pub-not-pub.
I check to make sure the parmas on offer – there are four – are made with real-deal chicken.
My traditional outing is as thick as any I’ve had – yet is still superbly juicy throughout.
This is top-shelf parmigiana – big, even a little crisp around the extremities, the flavour of the ham and tomato sauce coming through in turns.
The chips are fine but could’ve been hotter.
And with such a magnificent star of the plate, all that was needed salad-wise was some simple leaves, tomato and cucumber.
Those three are all present, but so are plenty of things – including sweet potato and eggplant – that put this salad in the try-too-hard bag.
Still, at $15 this is a red-hot bargain; I’d happily pay full whack.
(Bargain parma nights at the Vault are Tuesdays and Wednesdays).
Bennie reckons – from an ultra-hardcore, fussy, expert perspective – his southern fried chicken burger ($16.50, $18 Monday-Thursday with a pot of beer or cider) doesn’t reach any ecstatic heights.
But he is well pleased anyway.
There’s a nice slab of chook in there, along with sriracha mayo slaw, plenty of pickles and cheese.
He allows me a sample – and its tastes good.
He gets the same chips as accompanied the parma.