Babka: Defying Expectations – Not In A Good Way

I had been meaning to try the Babka muesli for a while because I have a vague memory of going there years ago and really enjoying some muffins. It seems like an odd rationale but really if babka muffins = grains = yummy, and muesli = grains then surely babka muffins = muesli = yummy? Ho ho, how wrong my flawless logic was.

But first, the establishment. Babka is the second institution that I have had the circumstance to review. In this instance the suburb is Fitzroy and the bakery cafe is located on Brunswick Street, just North of Kerr Street. It is compact yet seemingly spacious and as such my lovely friend and I felt quite comfortable sharing all of the lascivious gossip we had for each other, without feeling too self-conscious. The wait staff were for the most part friendly and attentive, but not over-bearing – there are certainly no waitress-mothers around these parts (thank goodness as who needs one more?). I should also add that being a bakery, Babka smells very nice so if you visit with a cold, or are unfortunate enough to be anosmic, you’re missing out on an important part of the experience.

After sipping some water I considered the menu and found:

Swiss muesli – oats, sultanas, freshly grated apple, almonds, yogurt

My first exact account of the menu! And the first black mark against the Babka muesli – Swiss? What is Swiss muesli, some sort of wonderful muesli derivative that we should all try? No. It is naught but our good friend the Bircher Muesli which was developed, AND I QUOTE: “by Swiss physician Maximiilan Bircher-Benner” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muesli#Original_Bircher-Benner_muesli_recipe). I suppose I have made a bit of a meal (hehe) of the pretentiousness of this menu billing, but it is so at odds with what came out that it illustrates completely my disappointment:

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To borrow another quote: What the glob?! (LSP, Adventure Time). Instantly underwhelming. I was however, ready to look past appearances and judge this muesli based on its mouth-hole merit alone. Boy, was my mouth-hole disappointed. To begin with, it was warm. This went further than just being not-cold, it felt close to body temperature. As this is a Miss who likes to know where her tissue ends and muesli begins, instant disdain blossomed. Yes, I enjoyed the grated apple and the odd chunky almond, but these elements were lost within a sea of warm, creamy yogurt. The oats were similarly unable to compete with the dairy deluge. Safe to say, I was not amuselied.

I decided to be fair to Babka and take away a slice of the lemon tart that I have actually heard a lot about to eat over a cup if tea at work. Mind. Blown. I am not even a lemon tart fan, but I was not only given a gigantic slice (tick!), but it turned out to be a gigantic slice of amazing. Babka redemption!

Final Thoughts: If your boat floats in a lake of warm yoghurt, buy this muesli. If not, have toast, eggs or lemon tart for breakfast at Babka.

(Not-So) Good Muesli, Melbourne!

MM

Babka Bakery Café on Urbanspoon

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The Old Paper Shop Deli: South of the Yarra (*sniff*) Showing How It’s Done

Last Sunday morning I found myself in South Melbourne. I know how I got there – this isn’t one of those stories – it was in the course of doing a fun-run around Albert Park in aid of ovarian cancer research. And what better way to celebrate running 5km than a high-society bowl of muesli? Yes, I’ll launch right into it: being a Northern suburbs Miss I have an innate wariness of the land over the bridge(s) so get ready for lots of “South-side” this and “snooty” that. That’s how I was brought up, I suppose.

The Old Paper Shop Deli is, according to Ms SourDough who was one of my company on this occasion, a South Melbourne institution. It is located just North of the corner of Clarendon and Dorcas (malorcas) streets and is pretty un-inspriring in terms of its interior. That is, until the hungry eye rests upon the selection of cakes – which almost made me consider breaking my “cereal is breakfast, cake is not” rule. Almost, but I’m occasionally practising self control these days.

The procedure at the Old Paper Shop Deli is to take a seat and then go up and order when you have considered the menu. How empowering/inconvenient! After taking mere seconds to scan the menu for muesli (I was on an endorphin high so everything was done quickly and with gusto) I went up and ordered:

The muesli, thank you”

I’ll be honest, I’m paraphrasing again because I had to order for my two breakfast companions which was easy due to endorphins and their memory-enhancing properties. In fact, the only thing that was not enhanced that morning was my appearance, which was decidedly dishevelled and a bit damp. Lucky there were no paparazzi about.

After not very long, this arrived (ignore the bacon, Baby Chino doesn’t like muesli for some reason):

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You know you are on the wrong side of town (that’s right, the South side) when your muesli comes with a mint garnish! Despite this, the dish was glorious. Firstly, it was cold which is the sort of refreshment I am after when I eat any sort of dairy product (except tasty cheese, which is best melted). Honey was drizzled on top giving it an initial sweetness that was not overbearing and happily diminished as I made my way through the meal. The real revelations here, however, were the fruit and nuts. Call me old-fashioned, but I love a good prune and this meal had at least three of them which added a soft, waxy texture that was truly lovely. Additionally there was a very high density of freshly-grated, cold granny smith apple throughout the muesli that added a welcome crunch and tartness. Finally, I was surprised to discover that hazelnuts were the nut of choice for this meal, something I have not tasted anywhere else which is a shame because it turns out that hazelnuts are great. To be honest, the only thing that was wrong with the Old Paper Shop Deli muesli was that it seemed served in gourmet (read: small) portions but that could have been a misperception induced by those nefarious endorphins.

Overall: Run to this muesli. I sort of did and it was amazing. I will be coming back here for the cakes also, but you will have to leave my eventual thoughts on those to your imagination as this is a muesli blog.

Good Muesli, Melbourne!

MM

The Old Paper Shop Deli on Urbanspoon

Le Miel Et La Lune: Le Muesli Et…OK

My French is terrible so when I try and recommend this pretty trendy place on the corner of Elgin and Cardigan Streets in Carlton I turn what is probably an elegant five syllables into an embarrassing mush of grimacing awkwardness. I wish the muesli was terrible so I could now go on to say “and you know what else was a grimacing mush…” but it wasn’t that bad so I’ll have to maybe use that analogy somewhere else.

Anyway, why is Le Miel Et La Lune “pretty trendy”? Two words: Ceiling plants. This place has pot plants hanging from the ceiling like light fixtures. Additionally, it’s right near Melbourne Uni so you get the whole students-who-for-some-reason-have-enough-money-to-afford-this-place-oh-wait-Centrelink crowd who I share the pleasure of identifying with but at the same time disdaining (mostly the ones who look younger than me). And finally it has another stupidly unhelpful (but cutesy) website like Milkwood. Infuriating!

I’ll stop being snide, I was told I have to be more mean and it’s not sitting well with me. I actually really like how big this place is – the timber tables with stone (or cement? or it could be more timber?) floors and huge windows give the cafe a really breezy, open feel. It was lovely on the mild Summer morning that I took Mr Scrambled eggs (the pseudonym my brother chose for himself…he ended up having a fried egg, but who cares about non-cereal foodstuffs?) out to breakfast.

To paraphrase the menu, the muesli on offer was some sort of:

Homemade muesli with seasonal fruits

And it looked like this:

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First up, I love that they give you a separate little milk bottle. There is no assumption that just because I have ordered a yoghurt-based muesli I do not also want to loosen things up with a sneaky drop of milk. I definitely wanted to loosen things up with a sneaky drop of milk so this gets major ticks from me.

If the experience of eating something could be expressed as an average I would have to say that for this muesli x̄ = pleasant. A highlight was the fruit; the addition of raspberries as the main berry attraction was a lovely, tart surprise (I always expect strawberries, which I like, but am bored with) and there were chewy chunks of date throughout that I enjoyed. There were also little black seeds involved that I’m not sure I could taste but my eyes liked them being there so that was enough. However, apart from the fruit the yoghurt and muesli itself were not particularly flavoursome. The yoghurt wasn’t too sweet which is a plus, but it also didn’t have a distinctive presence in the meal (excuse me while I finish my wank…). The oats were crunchy but seemed to be present mainly to bulk out the yoghurt and fruit.

I enjoyed my breakfast at La Miel Et La Lune and will return, but I think I’ll try something other than the muesli. Don’t mis(smuesli)understand me, I liked it well enough but that might be due in equal parts not only to the pleasant taste, but also the comfortable atmosphere and good company.

Final Word: You should try this muesli, especially if you do not feel like having your mind blown that morning but still want cereal for breakfast.

Good Muesli, Melbourne!

MM

LE MIEL et la lune on Urbanspoon

Milkwood Muesli: Setting the Bar High

I have found a niche! After typing into Google”Best muesli Melbourne” and then down-playing my expectations to simply: “Good Muesli Melbourne” (catch phrase or new cool greeting potential?!), I was not met with a flurry of pages dedicated to my favourite breakfast. Indeed, I was disappointed not to have someone tell me where to go to get my grainy fix. And so begins my taking the reins, boldly going where lots of people have probably gone before but not really documented to my knowledge, and putting my thoughts about muesli onto the internet!

Before the main event, I would like to make my motivations clear: I love cereal. If cafes sold Weet-Bix I would be writing about Weet-bix, but most places do not consider them fit to make all fancy so I guess I’ll stick to the second greatest cereal – Muesli.

Milkwood Muesli:

Milkwood is a cute place a little bit South of the corner of Nicholson and Blyth Streets. It is split into two rooms and if, like me you happen to wonder into the second, more quiet room and think “where does all the food come from?”, it’s not from behind the wall as I initially thought – I’m pretty sure that’s a bathroom – you’ll get it if you go there. Milkwood in-joke? Anyway, after orienting myself I ordered the muesli. To paraphrase the menu (as their silly trendy website only says “Milkwood” down the bottom right, how useless. Also urbanspoon is out of date. Also I didn’t bring a notepad to breakfast, rookie mistake):

Bircher Muesli with pistachios, almonds, apple and honey

I’m never going to be a menu writer, that was just the ingredients listed, and not even all of them. Here is a picture!

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Delicious.

First bite: Tart yogurt gives way to crunchy pistachio and muesli flakes. It is cool (temperature wise…and probably looks-wise too, what’s cooler than ordering muesli?).

Rest: They give you a really generous serving of muesli here, which I’m all for. The thing that really strikes me about this dish is the grated apple. It is strewn throughout the yoghurt infusing every bite with a fresh crunchiness that made my tongue, teeth and palate very happy. My brain was also pretty happy at this point.The show ponies of the breakfast fruit world – strawberries – should get a mention here; Milkwood used lovely cold, fresh-tasting strawberries that were cut up so I didn’t have to deal with having a whole strawberry in my mouth at any one time, nor the stalks I suppose more importantly! Finally, the good people of Milkwood drizzle honey on the surface of the bowl. This resulted in the muesli become sweeter as the end of the dish was nearing, creating a sense of breakfast and breakfast-dessert all in one! Admittedly I did find it a bit too sweet toward the end, but I am too cheap to go and get the fillings I probably need so I’ll deal with the slight irritation overly sugary things cause my exposed dentine.

Overall Recommendation: Definitely order and then eat this muesli!

Good Muesli, Melbourne!

MM

Milkwood on Urbanspoon