The Forum @ The Signature
Time Out says
Never mind that its name is more apt as a designated site for council meetings because The Forum is pretty. It’s 2016, and our tradition of measuring a café’s worth by its cosmetics is still well and truly alive. The space is decked out like a living room in an interior design magazine you’d pick up at an airport. It’s part warm, part fresh. The best details are the potted plants in the corners and the large glass windows that allow in a generous amount of natural light.
The chai that I order is black tea and whole spices floating about in soymilk in a stainless steel pot. The tea and gear come from Prana Chai, an organic Melbourne chai company that uses only the ‘good stuff’. After a few minutes, I strain the spices from the pale, milky liquid. It’s the best thing I consume at The Forum. True to Melbourne’s taste for chai, the tea is delicate, silky in texture and lightly sweetened (with honey). The only shame is the dark, aromatic clump of tea twigs that could easily benefit from a second round of brewing. Alas, refills are not permitted. The coffee – from what was Melbourne’s best roastery five years ago, Axil – is decent.
The food is largely unmemorable; a cluster of recycled brunch dishes executed to the pinnacle of mediocrity. The big breakfast blurs into all the versions you’ve already had. There is chicken sausage, there is ham whose animal origin is difficult to identify, there is a block of hash brown, and there is underripe tomato sitting in a slush of its sour juices. The Eggs Royale, meanwhile, is a mash-up of eggs Florentine and Atlantic, but with salmon so ominously stale, it’s at the onset of turning creamy and wet. The potato gratin that comes on the side is more palatable – warm, buttery and crisp.
Displeased, I order the lobster bisque because why not? It turns out to be a broth so salty it instantly turns my throat dry, and the sweet lobster flavour is but a distant memory. The soup comes with a dry wafer filled with pink lobster meat; it’s a detail I can appreciate had it not been so tough to chew. I mourn the death of the lobster used in the making of this dish.
Things look up ever so slightly when the zucchini and lime cake comes. It’s manageable but the floppy strands of raw zucchini are a bit off-putting as they simply sink into the mound of cream cheese frosting. It seemed like the real icing on the cake had appeared before any of the food did – in the form of a most comforting cup of chai.