Cafe Lua Revisited: A Disappointing Sequel

After having such a positive experience at Cafe Lua more than a year ago, I had no hesitation recommending this cafe/art space as somewhere relatively central to meet some old and new breakfast companions. Yes, it might be slightly pricey, but I this was a special occasion – I was showing off to Short Stack and Madame Bacon.

My hopes were high as I flipped through the menu, and then sunk lower when I found that Cafe Lua was still in Winter mode and I would not be eating a cool, creamy muesli but rather a:

Porridge of some description

I do like porridge as it is the warm, mushy cousin of muesli; however on a sunny Spring morning being greeted with the prospect of porridge when muesli was expected is kind of like being given work clothes for your birthday – useful, potentially tasty, but a bit disappointing.

Normally I would move straight on to a photo of said porridge, but I will delay. This is because (and I’m not usually one to comment on service as I’m here for the oats) we had to wait for almost 40 minutes before being told that there had been a “printing error” – which I guess I understand, printers are notoriously fickle, but how does this relate to my situation? – and we would have to wait a further 15 minutes for our breakfasts. My God, we were being pushed into brunch territory. We were offered a free drink each as compensation, which I and my similarly-minded friends jumped right on and ordered smoothies – which we received mini versions of. The wait did give us plenty of time to chat, but honestly, who wants to do that on an empty stomach? Here is what finally arrived:

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Firstly, porridge should not occupy the bottom quarter of a wide, shallow bowl. Secondly, regardless of what amazing ingredients might have been used to create this dish, the first overwhelming mouth impression that I got was that it was tepid. My next course of action was to find solace in the rhubarb…and it was cold. The horror. THE HORROR! Yes, I suppose I could have asked for them to warm it up but honestly, at this stage I was wallowing in self-righteous indigence at the travesty of having to wait almost an hour for cool porridge and have to eat it at a time that can only be described as brunch. Brunch! Not even creamy, coconutty oats are going to save a lukewarm porridge from being one of the worst things ever. It is like whoever made it did not care one bit – and apathy is something I cannot abide. I do not enjoy being disappointed and this one stung badly.

Final Word: If you are out to breakfast and are feeling masochistic, go to Cafe Lua and try their porridge.

(Not So) Good Muesli, Melbourne!

-MM

Cafe Lua on Urbanspoon

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Café Lua: Halle-Lu(j)a(h) – Praise the Muesli!

Capitalising on my moving out of home last week, I managed to wrangle a family (read: free) breakfast at the place of my choice – so long as it was in proximity to Melbourne University and RMIT so that Madame Phở-pas and Mr Scrambled Eggs (who ended up ordering a poached egg) could make it to their respective classes on time. I thus decided to pay a visit to Café Lua, home of the sprawling front on the South-East corner of Drummond and Elgin streets in Carlton.

Café Lua is artsy. This could be due to the use of hessian sacks as wall art – or perhaps it was the art as wall art that tipped me off. Regardless, the décor is striking, especially the glorious chandelier hanging like a school of fish suspended mid-turn from the cavernous ceiling above the counter. A red feature wall further impresses the lusty, open charm of this place as does the fact that the popular café was teeming with many and varied human life-forms the closer it came to 9am. OK, perhaps I have gotten carried away with images of vitality here but Café Lua excited me in a way that makes me want to put on the accent of an English naturalist and narrate sweeping landscape shots of this place. Another thing to note is that the tables and chairs are of the retro linoleum veneer type that brings back memories of microwaved meals-on-wheels at Grandma’s house, and which seem to be in fashion at the moment.

Naturalism and nostalgia aside, after some awkward table service I managed to order:

Muesli – Yoghurt Bircher topped with seasonal poached fruit and roasted almond 

This is a rare complete menu quote! Thank you Café Lua for having a useful website that is not simply a cutesy picture dwarfing the restaurant name with no menu information, as if out of shame for the base activity of eating that conceptually besmirches the establishment (I’m looking at you, Le Miel Et La Lune). Anyway, here is the food interpretation of the menu:

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Presented in a bowl reminiscent of the eye in Egyptian artistry, this muesli defiantly stares back at the diner, daring to be eaten. Challenge accepted. On first bite it was instantly apparent that this was something to write home about. The cool, creamy tartness of the yoghurt was perfectly complimented by the sweet stewed pear. The toasted, flaked almonds added crunch and a smokiness that infused each mouthful with happy memories of cakes, biscuits and Christmas ham – without the overt sweetness or roasted meat-ness of any of those things. Another wonderful inclusion in this breakfast were sunflower seeds, and lots of them, giving an earthy added crunch. I’ve mentioned in a previous post my fondness for the cheerful, giant sunflower – well it turns out I love to eat them (or at least their seed) as well as look at them. Finally, and I will admit that it took a ‘mother’s taste’ on the part of Lady Grey to identify what exactly it was that I was sensing, cinnamon was used in the Café Lua muesli. Yes, it is nothing new that cinnamon and pear are wonderful together, but what a revelation to associate this with my oats and yoghurt! The pleasure of the cinnamon aftertaste at breakfast is not something that one forgets. For Cafe Lua the highest level of praise however was that, after much fumbling, Madam Phở-pas managed to eat this muesli with a fork and recognized its deliciousness despite hating cereal.

Overall: This was glorious muesli, the best that I have encountered to date. Go to Café Lua and politely demand to eat this muesli!

Good Muesli, Melbourne!

MM

Cafe Lua on Urbanspoon