56 Threads: Sewing Wild, Friendly Oats

For reasons known only to herself, the benevolent Lady Grey decided that this particular morning would be one devoted to “girls” – I prefer to identify as a blossoming young woman, but that might be a delusion in itself. Happily, a girls morning means that the similarly age-bracketed and beloved Madame Phở-pas, Ms Mimosa and I are treated to breakfast and an item (or a sneaky three) of second-hand clothing. After we discovered that the pop-up store in Carlton that Lady Grey had her eye on had distressingly popped-down, I swooped in to save the day by suggesting that we dine out West and move on to Footscray Savers, a much less crowded option for a late Saturday morning.

The venue we descended upon was 56 Threads in Derby Street, Kensington. My interest was piqued by their ethos of providing employment and training for new migrants, which is a heartening initiative given the current political clime. The cafe sits on the ground floor of public housing in Derby Street. The main theme seems to be geometry, with interesting dodecahedral light fixtures and clean lines dominating the bench architecture. Of note, as I have been on an accessibility tirade of late, I observed that 56 Threads has an entranceway wide enough for a patron to enter using a motorised scooter, order coffee, then turn around and leave without hitting furniture or being impeded in any way. If this level of functionality existed more uniformly across the city, Melbourne’s cafe-culture would be more inclusive of the oft forgotten population of people with mobility impairment – which is certainly not insignificant!

Upon perusal of the menu I was excited to order:

56 Threads almond and cranberry muesli: made in house served with strawberries and yoghurt 

In a refreshing twist given my last cafe experience which I will neither forgive nor forget, we did not have to wait even 20 minutes before our breakfast arrived. Here it is:

wpid-20141011_100453.jpg

This was a simple, hearty muesli that felt like it was prepared by a well-meaning dad: The portion was generous, the oats were plain with nicely-toasted almonds, crunchy hazelnuts, sunflower seeds and cranberries mixed in to provide extra taste and a sensible amount of nutrition. Fresh strawberries and cool, creamy yoghurt combined for a light, Springtime taste. While nothing fancy – not a micro herb, chia seed or labne to be seen – the 56 Threads muesli was homely without pretension and a meal that kept me going until lunch. What more could a “girl” on a girls morning want?

Final word: Regardless of your mobility requirements, take yourself out to 56 Threads and enjoy a friendly, inclusive breakfast. While you will not find super specialised on-trend ingredients that will blow your mind and confuse your tastebuds, you will find plenty of community spirit – super food for the soul.

Good Muesli, Melbourne!

-MM

Fifty-Six Threads Cafe on Urbanspoon

Advertisements

John Gorilla: Rolled his oats up and threw them at me…and I liked it.

Spring has sprung and I emerged today from my blog-hibernation squinting warily into the sunlight as Baby Chino and I rode through residential Brunswick at earlier-than-8am for our breakfast appointment. What a time to be able to ride a bike;  the roads are deserted, the air is crisp and the best meal of the day is the reward for our exertion (although I’m not sure  leisurely riding for less than 2km really counts). Also, there is a smug self-satisfaction that comes from watching the less disciplined breakfast crowd that arrives around 9am waiting to be seated, while I sit back in post-muesli bliss chatting happily to my companions. I’m all for a Sunday sleep in, but will trade that for unimpeded access to breakfast in a heart beat.  Anything to avoid brunch territory and the subsequent meal confusion that always follows –  what time should lunch be?! I shudder to think.

This morning’s breakfast took us to John Gorilla, a quaint cafe just North of Hunter Street on Pearson. Upon entering I was transported back to early childhood and this was my playroom; perhaps it was that the main counter was so high that I immediately had the strange experience of actually having to look up to address someone; maybe it was the brightly coloured plastic fruit and trinkets that adorned the main table at the entrance, or perhaps it was the whimsical seaside feel of the section we sat in. Most likely it was the old Snellen chart that adorned the wall opposite me so that whenever I looked up I was reminded of my early optometrist and a time when my prescription did not require super-thin lens technology to avoid the coke-bottle look. What a great place!

With no trepidation I ordered:

Bircher muesli: golden raisin and hazelnut with seasonal fresh fruit

I was then surprised to hear Mr Scrambled Eggs actually order his namesake, even more surprised when Baby Chino ordered porridge (considering how he feels about oats), and not surprised at all when Ms Mimosa ordered B.L.A.T. Back to me:

 wpid-20140907_082342.jpg

It looks like a fantastical landscape at dawn. My inner child sat there imagining the strange beasts that might traverse those strawberry peaks and seek shelter under the grape-boulders. My outer adult quickly stuffed a spoonful of it into my mouth. Citrus-surprise! There were slices of fresh orange buried under the apple and yoghurt-soaked oats, buried so completely that I had no idea what I was tasting, initially cursed Mr Gorilla for overdoing it and started wondering if I would still be able to put off going to the dentist until I can afford health insurance. I found that there was actually no need for that level of catastrophising as the rest of the dish was delightfully creamy and oaty, with the only bursts of sweetness being from the obvious and not-so-obvious fruit within. A quick comment on golden raisins – delicious and translucent – but how are they different from sultanas? Wikipedia says: they’re not. But who can you trust?

Final Word: Set your alarm for early and venture out to John Gorilla for a whimsical breakfast, if you’re in to that sort of thing.

Good Muesli, Melbourne!

-MM

John Gorilla on Urbanspoon

Racers: Middle-of-the-Pack Muesli

For the last month I have been living in a nursing home. No, I did not eat the brain of someone who lived in the UK between 1980-1996 and have developed the dementia  associated with prion disease (touch wood). This barely-converted nursing home represents my University’s accommodation for me and other students in Ballarat, where I am currently doing a five-week placement. Despite the grimness that confronts me every day upon waking, as well as weather that makes Melbourne look like the Gold Coast, the town of Ballarat itself is really quite nice. Churches and historic buildings densely populate the town centre and the black swans inhabiting the glorious Lake Wendouree are a sight to behold on a rare sunny day.

Madame Phở-pas came to visit for a week and provided as good a reason as any to wake up early and seek out some semi-rural muesli.  The first place we tried, Eclectic Tastes, looked very promising however we were shocked to our Melbourne-bred cores to discover that on this mid-week morning it was due to open at 9am. What sort of rationale is that? Disheartened and confused, we drove around the Lake looking for anywhere that would feed us. We found Racers Bar and Cafe, which sits on the corner of Wendouree Parade and Webster Street. The inside is not particularly inspiring, with a lifelessly modern decor consisting of lots of red, white and black. Glass dominated the facade which did give the place an open, airy feel.

Anyway, turning to the menu I was happy to see that Racers does cater for the muesli-inclined and so the gist of what I ordered was:

Bircher Muesli with Stewed Fruit

What could be the reality of that intriguing description? Well, this:

SAMSUNG

This thirds approach to presentation was particularly appealing, except for the subliminal peace promotion that I suppose I can get behind. To start, a good thing about this dish was the rhubarb and probably-pear stewed mixture which provided a tartness that balanced the almost caramel, naughty sweetness of the honey used. The nut crumble added a crinkliness to the texture that was welcome as that muesli mix itself did not seem to contain any sort of nut or seed. Indeed, the paste-like oats did not stand up own their own and had to be quickly combined with the two other thirds to be enjoyable. The whole of this muesli was certainly tastier than the sum of its parts.

Overall: The Racers offering is a good example of a second-choice muesli. Don’t jump at the chance to try it, but if your first option is unavailable and you still need your morning cereal this muesli will tide you over until lunch.

Adequate Muesli, Ballarat!

-MM

Racers on Urbanspoon