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:

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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

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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