It’s 11am on a Wednesday, and neon blue-and-pink lights are spilling out of a heritage-listed brick townhouse in the CBD and onto the cobblestones outside. It looks a bit like a nightclub accidentally left them on all night.
Cafe Lafayette isn't a nightclub, but some of the design elements wouldn’t be out of place in one. (Look no further than the neon blue-and-pink lights that regularly spill out of its doors.) It's from the same duo that runs colourful, all-you-can-eat Prahran diner Grand Lafayette. It has exposed brick and concrete walls, shiny black tables, dark steel dividers and a stainless steel wraparound bar that’s iridescent under the surrounding coloured lights. It's all housed in a heritage-listed brick townhouse.
The food is here is fun, and decidedly untraditional. The Bird’s Nest is a take on okonomiyaki – a purple-cabbage pancake that arrives hidden under "twigs" of fried leek with a whole 62-degree sous-vide egg in the centre, still in its shell and ready for you to crack open. The Unagi Hotdog is a long brioche bun holding a strip of grilled eel, tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette), kale and pickled red onion, topped with crispy shredded kataifi pastry and served with deep-fried seaweed chips and yuzu mayo.
There’s also fried chicken on squid-ink waffles; French toast with mascarpone, mint oil, and matcha-tinged white-chocolate sauce; and soba noodles with seafood and a spring-onion and soy-sauce broth.
For dessert, try a raindrop cake, a dessert that shot to Insta-fame in 2016. There are also milkshakes – double chocolate, black sesame, matcha and berry – and there’s no extra charge for alternative milks. Coffee is by Perth roaster Five Senses and hot chocolate is from Hunted + Gathered.