Yes, the title of this post is a warning to any Victorian-era time-travellers or fetishists out there looking for a pipe – Hot Poppy is not a den of ill repute. Rather, it is an earthy cafe on the corner of Errol and Victoria Streets in North Melbourne. Unfortunately I cannot give very much of a comment on the interior of this place as my co-conspirator that warm morning was already seated outside when I arrived. I do have a lingering sense of thick, good-quality timber as the material making up the Hot Poppy facade but you can take that with the grain of wheat it deserves (this is a muesli blog, salt has no place here).
I did, however, have my first documentable out-door breakfast – a sensory smorgasbord. I experienced the feeling of the wind caressing my still-damp hair and kissing my rosy cheeks, still warm from the exertion of the ride up the Errol street hill; the sight of Miss Chic Pea illuminated in the untempered sunlight; the smell of fresh morning rain and finally, the ungodly screeching of the 57 tram as it turns along Victoria Street. My ears are still ringing (but that could be pathological).
After ordering a coffee I turned my attention to the menu, which had a variety of oaty offerings (from memory at least two) which was pretty ground-breaking but also exposed how painfully indecisive I can be at 7:30 in the morning. I managed to choose:
Homemade bircher muesli with yoghurt and strawberry coulis
This was in equal parts to me knowing what bircher muesli is, and not knowing what “coulis” could possibly be but hoping to find out. It so happens that it is a fancy way of saying “sauce”. For your viewing pleasure:
This is a clearly striking muesli. There is nothing like a bit of visual contrast to excite the tastebuds, and those guys were not disappointed. Contrary to the bold strawberry statement, citrus was the flavour of the day coming across through the orange rind scattered throughout the dish. It was a refreshing difference to the creamy muesli I have endured of late. The Hot Poppy muesli is a dense one, and I would have appreciated a bit of milk to loosen things up. It would have gone nicely with the hazelnuts that, to my delight, made an appearance as the nut of choice in this cereal. Another interesting feature of this muesli was the use of large chunks of dried apple rings, seemingly in place of the standard bircher grated apple. I loved it, not just because the leathery texture is a great thing, but also because I am of the opinion “why have a sliver when you can have a chunk?”. It’s how I live my life.
So I was happily munching my way through breakfast, nattering away safe in the knowledge that I was back on the positive review bandwagon when I was suddenly arrested mid-chew. I had crunched down on something hard. I can only equate it to the feeling you get when you have dropped something tasty and hence precious on the ground, made the decision to ignore what just happened and continue eating, only to then be reminded of your transgression over hygiene by the sensation of chewing on floor-grit. I was initially scared that I was eating my own tooth. I wasn’t. Could it have been a bit of glass? Was it a stone flicked over from the wailing number 57 tram? Was it someone else’s tooth? I will never know because I swallowed it. And as what occurs with guilty floor-food, I continued to eat this muesli because it was delicious.
Final Word: By all means order the muesli at Hot Poppy if you are cereal minded and can ignore my last paragraph. Sit indoors for the sake of your eardrums.
Good Muesli, Melbourne!