Young & Jackson's cafe sits on the ground floor of this huge Young & Jackson corner location. Upstairs there is 'Chloe's Lounge & Restaurant' and there is even a rooftop bar above that. Next door is the long bar which leads into the main bar.
The cafe wasn't too busy when we arrived and we managed to get a table for two by the window. With comfy red leather dining chairs, we slumped into our seats, out of the wet rain. A waitress came with a couple of menus. The menu is fronted with an image of the infamous 'Chloe' herself, laid bare in a slightly sultry pose.
There is the usual pub fare of fish and chips, steak and Guinness pie alongside salads, lamb cutlets, Australian dahl and more.
Having not eaten any breakfast this morning (very bad I know!), I was after something more substantial than a salad from the 'Something Light' section of the menu. So, it was a toss up between the fish and chips, and the steak and Guiness pie from the 'Not So Light' section.
Since I concluded that both dishes probably contain equal amounts of calories, I decided against the deep fried fare and went for the steak and Guiness pie served with creamy mash and buttered winter veg. My companion ordered the fish and chips. Hoorah, I would get to try them both!
The steak and Guiness pie was an individually cooked pie with a lovely puff pastry crust on top. As I cut into the gorgeously flaky pastry, I was presented with succulent pieces of beef that had started to break up due to it being so tender. As I spooned out the filling, there were also pieces of celery and carrot. The Guiness gravy was so delicious, that I felt it a sin not to tip over the dish in order to pour it all over my mash.
The creamy mash was indeed, exceedingly creamy - it was, heaven! The vegetables were steamed just right, still crunchy and beautifully mixed with slightly wilted fresh spinach leaves. They tasted buttery, but not too much so.
The fish and chips came with a side of fresh salad lightly dressed with olive oil. The fish was moist pieces of whiting covered in crispy beer batter. The chips were like chips that you get back in England. With the tartare sauce and wedge of lemon, it took me back to being in Brighton (England) eating fish and chips by the sea.
The fish was fresh and the batter was crispy without being greasy. My companion certainly enjoyed it as well.
Having meticulously polished off our mains, we decided against dessert. Even though the sticky date pudding with ice-cream that I saw looked utterly inviting. It would have to be sampled at a later date.
The setting in one of Melbourne's oldest pubs is that of relaxed, informal and unpretentious, pub stroke cafe style dining. With a good selection of staple pub grub as well as light snacks and even hot breakfasts available at the weekends, Young & Jackson's cafe downstairs is certainly a good place to eat.
Young & Jackson's Cafe
Corner of Swanston Street & Flinders Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000
Tel: +61 (0)3 9650 3884