Mocan & Green Grout: Not Much More Than A Pretty Face

On the second day of my whirlwind visit to Canberra I managed to wake up early enough to enjoy a Sunday breakfast out and about, this time in New Acton at a place called Mocan & Green Grout. This area had an air of sustainability, with the surrounding new-looking apartments having a warm-brown timber look with abundant greenery sprouting from walls, balconies and planters. The cafe itself spruiks it’s ethical approach to food-making and also doubles as a bike shop – which I have to support given the motor-dependent nature of the city. Any attempt at promoting a bike friendly culture is laudable (though my views do change depending on whether I am a cyclist, pedestrian or motorist which indicates to me that we all – it surely just can’t be me! – need a bit of education on managing our interactions with others on the road, regardless of how liberating it feels to mostly-anonymously rage at other humans).

It was a very sunny morning and so we were happy to be seated outside after having to wait a little while for a table. I thus did not get a proper look at the interior but got the impression of dark, cool timber – if that helps. Outside was congruent with the surrounding area with hanging plants in abundance and plenty of greenery. It was a clean, cheery environment with a hip feel that was certainly reminiscent of cafes in Melbourne.  Looking at the menu, I was disappointed that there was no bircher on offer, so instead I ordered:

Rose scented granola, rhubarb and yoghurt

I was excited about the rhubarb and the prospect of rose petals as these have been used as a garnish in other muesli to great effect. Here is the realisation of my anticipation:

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What a large surface area they presented me with. There really was not much in the way of granola here, which was disappointing. For a place that has such links to cycling and activity, you’d think Mocan & Green Grout would provide more rewarding portion sizes. The main taste event here were all of the seeds – pumpkin and sesame seeds were prominent and although that is a good thing, it did serve to did overwhelm the other ingredients. The plain yoghurt was a good move in order to facilitate the rhubarb and rose petals, however there was a blandness to these tastes – they did not seem as tart as they should be. This was not a particularly sweet granola, though nor did it convey any other particularly strong sensations. To add insult to injury, while eating this small, bland meal I sustained my first sunburn of the year! Not worth it.

Final word: While Mocan & Green Grout has the look of a promising cafe, the food was lacking in taste and volume. Go here to feel part of trendy garden community, but by no means leave your comfort zone to do so.

(Not So) Good Muesli, Canberra!

-MM

Mocan & Green Grout on Urbanspoon

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Baby Chino Guest Review: Vyve Cafe and Restaurant

Note: This is a guest review by Baby Chino, who was left behind while I visited Canberra. The grumpy views posted here are his alone. He wanted the title of the post to be: Café Vyve – A Real Muesli Review as No One Really Likes Miss Muesli (Especially Her Terrible Titles). Rude.

While Miss Muesli is traitorously eating muesli in Canberra, it’s time for a real assessment of the state of Melbourne muesli. Turning a scheduled service of a lemon of a Suzuki car named Coco into a family affair, Madam Marmalade (?), Lady Sourdough (??) and I decided to eat breakfast in a café named Vyve in Heidelberg somewhere (possibly…I think…it was near the Austin Hospital at least). The café was pretty nice and we were able to sit in the back that looks up over a green tree-y area and see the trains on the Hurstbridge line go past, so pretty nice. The servers were nice and inoffensive (as they should be), however a family with small screaming children arrived (a chronic problem in Melbourne cafes), scowling I ordered:

Vyve Bircher Platter: Bircher muesli, seasonal fruit salad, organic handmade crumpets with your choice of spread

This is what I got:

David muesli

First off, as no one really like fruit, I palmed off the salad as quick as I could, I mean who wants to eat a fruit salad for breakfast? Secondly, not being asked what spread I wanted (tut tut), I was given honey for my crumpets, which looked a bit pale compared to the lovely orange of Golden’s Crumpets we all prefer (that’s ‘organic handmade’ stuff for you). The muesli was presented in a little salsa jar, which I have to admit was pretty novel (however as I think back on it, what audacity they have for making me open the jar lid myself). Smearing the on honey and eating the crumpets, I found them to be pretty good, if a little dry. As for the muesli itself, it was wet with some sultanas and almonds mixed in, which to be honest, was a little bland, so for better or worse I poured my remaining honey into the muesli. The honey added a sweetness to the sour lemony taste of the muesli, which I finished eating as the others ate whatever it was they had ordered. All in all, I guess the muesli was alright but I, like everyone under the age of 60, don’t really like muesli anyway.

– BC

Vyve Cafe & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

The Elk and Pea: Muesli Worth Enduring the Current Government For

This weekend I found myself driving to Canberra with Madam Macchiato to visit the beautiful (but deadly) Kommandant Kale, who has left Melbourne to answer the noble call of public service. Initially, while I was very happy for my dear friend, I not-so-secretly thought that she was in for a boring and depressing year in our nation’s capital. This was based on nothing but the general disdain that Melbournians tend to have for anywhere more than 15km out from the CBD (unless we are talking about “the beach”, which we just loooove with a self-righteous air of ownership). My view changed on Saturday morning, however, as seeing the capital for the first time in the light (the drive was awfully long – we arrived in the dark) I realised that it is a gorgeous garden city! With the impending upheaval of Royal Park to make way for the East-West link, this was a revelation as I have now found a city that is a essentially giant park with buildings scattered amongst it all to escape to. I could live in Canberra! Whew, I said it.

We chose The Elk and Pea on the safely-named Lonsdale Street in somewhere called Braddon for our first venture – which was, I’m ashamed to say, a brunch. The intermediary meal of brunch throws me off-kilter for the day, punishment for waking up after 9am I suppose. We arrived and were shocked to be asked if we had a booking. Booking for brunch? What did they think they were, the Langham Hotel? The wait staff apologetically asked us to share a table with others outside, which was an unnecessary sentiment as there was an abundance of space on said table – if this was Melbourne there would have been four tables crammed into the space allocated for this one. Refreshing. In terms of decor, I can only comment on the table cloth, which made me quite happy as it carried a cheery sunflower pattern. Otherwise, it was nice to have a quiet, unhurried meal in the middle of a capital city.

Without further ado I will get to the main event which involved me ordering:

Bircher Muesli: Coconut and cinnamon infused muesli, poached pear compote, toasted nuts

Wondering in error how one solid (oats) could be physically be infused with another (coconut), I eagerly received this dish as an answer:

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The pear is arranged like Parliament! Sort of – they probably realised that they couldn’t get away with only having four slices of pear as a garnish. And by probably realised, I mean that I have concocted that story about this muesli with a tourist’s excitement. The first mouthful of this dish revealed a deliciously tart puree that tasted more like passionfruit than pear, but I’m not picky as it was excellent. The cinnamon was generously present here, complimenting the stately, crisp pear perfectly and giving the plump, moist oats a comfort kick. The crunchy toasted almonds and coconut contrasted nicely with the oats and chewy sultanas strewn throughout this dish. This is a powerful breakfast, one that could win elections, pass bills and do other confident political acts. Basically, I enjoyed this muesli so much that I would let it brainwash me – how dangerously alluring and absurd!

Final word: The Elk and Pea have defied all expectations and delivered one of the best muesli that I have eaten so far. For those that live in Canberra, make a booking (weird) and demand this dish. For those in Melbourne, don’t drive up to Canberra, fly, then brave your disdain for all places ‘other’ and just order the muesli.

Good Muesli, Canberra!

-MM

The Elk & Pea on Urbanspoon