The other week I navigated the foggy area of meal-time that is brunch as one of my companions that day, Captain Cappuccino (who just likes chocolate), touts a hearty late-morning meal as his hangover cure. Not being seedy enough to require curing from a midweek hangover I begrudgingly had pre-muesli toast at my normal breakfast time to stem the tide of hunger pains that would no doubt plague me if I did not make inroads into breaking my fast. As toast is not muesli it will certainly not be reviewed here.
The venue chosen for this outing was Little Henri, an unassuming (only because I walked right past it, more a comment on my lack of observation) building on High Street, just South of Dundas Street in Thornbury. Little Henri can be summarised as an aloof warehouse. The high ceilings, regimented timber and metal furnishings as well as the large timber-framed windows create an atmosphere of airy anonymity – this building does not care who dines, just that the function of dining is accomplished. This is in contrast to cosy-warehouses that envelop you with warmth and lavish you with attention. OK, perhaps I have never been to a cosy warehouse and maybe they don’t exist but I’m making the point that Little Henri feels aloof so there you go. This is not to say that I didn’t like the interior, I found the clean, repetitive, industrial style of it all very pleasing – it appeals to the obsessive compulsive in me who in principle hates clutter and irregularity (but in practice is clumsy so things tend to get knocked askew).
Anyway, with the brunch team assembled, I was ready to tackle:
Bircher muesli w/ poached pear, yoghurt, pistachio + rose petals
Thank you, urbanspoon menu photographers. The reality of this food-promise is as follows:
Muesli on a plate! Things sure do get weird around brunch-time. I am, however, of the school that plates are for meat and (three) vegetables, not oats and their associates. Every morsel of a breakfast needs to be able to be scraped up and without a bowl we are getting into spoon-and-knife territory – and you don’t bring a knife to a muesli fight. Just a bowl.
Moving on to the muesli itself, I was intrigued reading the menu as to what rose petals would be contributing to the dish. I had visions of blood-red petals artfully arranged – a romantic offering from the seemingly aloof Henri? What came out was much more grounded in culinary reality and was a lovely surprise. The rose petals gave this muesli a hint of the Mediterranean which served to accentuate the cool, tart yoghurt. The poached pear – which is now becoming my favourite muesli accompaniment – was moist, crunchy and subtly sweet. Another innovation in the Little Henri muesli were the chewy clusters of (probably) honey-roasted oats and pistachio scattered throughout. These not only fulfilled my love of chewing, but also my love of oats. Oats are wonderful nestled in yoghurt, but they are also divine in biscuits and cakes. Little Henri managed to combine the two personalities of oats – the respectable breakfast oat with the cheeky dessert oat – to create a deliciously original muesli.
Final Word: Find Little Henri and ask for his muesli. Despite this cafe’s coolness, it will serve you up an innovative breakfast that will only leave you wanting more.
Good Muesli, Melbourne!