Cafe Cinque Lire

October 5, 2011

Monash University Clayton Campus

Being the excellent person that I am, and following the invitation of a good friend, I hiked (though not literally) out to the Clayton campus of Monash University to taste the best food they had on offer. I had been pre-warned, in the week leading up to my visit (having never been to Monash before) of the dangers and downright depression that clouds the campus: gale force winds, grassy knolls turned marshland, utilitarian 70s architecture.

To top it all off, I had a nightmare the night before, in which my friend and I had to jump over rivers of lava, climb up crumbling rocky outcrops, eagles circling overhead, to reach the coffee stand, only to find the coffee dispenser empty. The food was canteen style, where we lined up outside at a fast-food truck with trays, but had to be wary of semi-trailers that were constantly thundering past on what, in my dream, appeared to be a highway going straight through campus. Sheer hell.

So it was quite a pleasant surprise, really, to arrive at the leafy campus the next morning. No lava, no coffee dispensers, no highway (at least not on campus). Sure, the wind was intense, and N did warn me of a puddle or two, but overall I found the campus perfectly fine. N took me to Cafe Cinque Lire, which, she declared, was “the very best Monash has to offer!”, followed by a slightly nervous laugh and “keep in mind, We. Are. In. Clayton.”

The cafe had a pleasant feel, pastries on display, hot food the same. There was lots of seating both inside and out: we sat inside in a lovely light-filled atrium. Our lattes weren’t bad, nothing to get excited about but not terrible by any means.

It was a chilly day, and the 100m/h winds blowing on the walk across campus had chilled my bones, so it was with little surprise that N and I both ordered the beef and mushroom pie. Steaming hot, smothered in tomato sauce, it was just what I needed. The pie had a great taste, I particularly liked the visible pieces of mushroom and beef in it, and the flakey, flower-shaped pastry.

As N walked me back to my car, we passed by the Menzies Building, which was being renovated at the time. Since they were renovating the stairwell, students were made to walk up some temporary stairs that had been set up on the OUTSIDE of the building. Essentially they were scaffolding, exposed to the rain and wind, it’s some wonder no one was blown off. Health and safety at Monash: maintaining high standards, obviously.
If I’ve offended anyone who goes to Monash, I’m sorry. I liked your cafe (I can say that because there really is only one – ooops, there I go again!), I thought your campus was nice, and your stairwells highly amusing. Thank you for the experience, and now I am returning to Carlton.

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