Elceed: El-Seedy Muesli

Sometimes it feels like all I do is ride my bike down Royal Parade. This leafy portal to anywhere even slightly South or East of me has been a constant ever since my life stopped revolving around High School in Northcote all those years ago. Eeep, it is getting close-ish to a decade now; if riding down Royal Parade was a job, I’d be getting due for some long service leave. I should stop quantifying things in terms of how close to earning long service leave I am in them, it’s not particularly useful especially as I have been in my actual job now for only 9 weeks. This particular outing down Royal Parade to North Melbourne was to be my last in the hustle of Melbourne’s breakfast scene until the end of May, as I am about to be whisked away to Horsham for work. I am excited for some more rural breakfast experiences, perhaps I’ll try and stop in at some towns along the way to eat muesli and turn a 3.5 hour journey into a full day. Worth it? Who am I kidding I’ll probably just end up stopping in somewhere like Beufort for a vanilla slice and a Big M – much more sensible travelling fare.

I arrived at Elceed, an airy cafe just west of Curzon street on Queensberry, and was surprised to be able to walk right in (sit right down) at 10am on a Sunday. I had visions of brunch lines snaking up the road, and having that conversation with my companions that happens when one person (me) is trying to test the waters and see how committed the company is to having brunch at all. Wouldn’t it be nicer if we didn’t have to wait because we all just gave up?  Hmmm, perhaps I catastrophise slightly, I just don’t like waiting for breakfast on top of that waiting time necessitated by the concept of brunch. I digress. Elceed was not made to honour the image of the homophonous Alcide, but still managed to be a nice place to eat by virtue of light, textured walls, open archways and large terrariums.

The menu had many words, but my eyes went no further than:

House Made Granola with Organic Yoghurt and Cranberry Poached Apple

I was not expecting this to come out:

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Everything is so upright! I think I was in shock, and hence could not work out how to photograph this spooned-jar of muesli. Was the spoon placed in the jar just so I would be instantly presented with evidence that it would fit; that yes, it would be possible to get my breakfast out of there using that? I still felt a bit like a bear at the zoo trying desperately to solve a food-puzzle. The reward did have a honey component, which made my bear-self happy but was a trifle overpowering to start with. True to its pronunciation, the Elceed granola contained plenty of seeds. Pumpkin seeds were the stars of the show, which created a nice nutritious crunch alongside the toasty oats and flecks of coconut. Cranberries were a thoughtful, red, chewy addition and I think were also used to poach the slices of ?apple (I’ll be honest, I settled on it being a plum before I re-read the menu…please continue to trust my food reviews) if the grammar of the menu was to be believed. Whatever happened to make that fruit how it was when I consumed it, it was tasty.

Final word: The Elceed granola is a bit of a puzzle in terms of the logistics of eating it, and identification of its components. Do try this granola if you have already had a first breakfast and just like the taste of toasted oats and seeds (guilty!). If you are very hungry and insist on granola, Elceed have cakes that looked perfectly suitable for a cheeky dessert portion of your morning meal.

Good-ish Muesli, Melbourne!

-MM

Elceed on Urbanspoon

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Miss Muesli Abroad: Japan Tour – Sentido Cafe

It has been all quiet on the writing-about-muesli (but not necessarily on the eating muesli) front over the last few months as I have been busy with significant life events such as finishing my degree and being on proper holidays for the first time in a very long time. There is something about suddenly having heaps of time that really distracts from things that require discipline such as the very serious task of oat bloggery. Now, however, I am overseas and idle time is again a commodity – What better conditions to spur me to write?

Like any budding artist (yes, I’m counting breakfast writing as art – it’s certainly not blasphemy or pornography), I have gone on tour in Japan! The only problem with this, I suppose, is that cafe muesli is a rare beast in this land. In fact, according to my extensive searching (read, I googled “city x cafe muesli”) there has so far been only one place that I have found that caters to my very specific Western breakfast needs. But I’ll get to that. First, I’ll set the scene. Cereal is not the norm here. I have been starting my days with convenience store bought aloe vera yoghurt, which advertises that it is “good for beauty body” so I guess that’s probably the wisest thing to eat in the morning. Just quickly, in Japan 7-11s and their ilk are the best and a far cry from the over priced service stations back home. Let’s just say I’d happily eat an egg and mayo sandwich from a 7-11 in Japan.

Back to breakfast. Probably the beautiful low point for me was having the most ornate, meticulous traditional Japanese breakfast prepared in the room Baby Chino and I were staying in. Eating fish, tofu and pickles for breakfast was too much for my three weetbix and a banana palate to handle. After that the search for cereal intensified, and I found success in Kyoto: Cafe Sentido is a glorious anomaly near the Karasuma Oike subway station. Blackboards cheerily announce the menu which includes the much sought after ‘cereal set’. That’s all I needed. Without further ado, calling on the language skills that Chic Pea tried hard to impart to me I ordered for myself and Baby Chino:

Cereal set oh futatsu onegaishimas

When this was met with a friendly, lengthy reply asking for my preference about something, my Japanese competency reached capacity and I just said a blank-faced yes to everything that followed. This is the result of my confusion:

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Hooray! This was granola, and like most things in Japan from my height perspective, everything about it was tiny. The oats were in sweetly toasted fragments, combined with similarly obliterated nuts. Together these created a crunch-fest that I had been sorely missing in the morning. The prospect of slurping yoghurt for breakfast every morning is one reason to look after my teeth I suppose. The dollop of yoghurt in this meal cooly contained delicate slivers of banana. Fruit is very expensive here, I have seen cantaloupes from the equivalent of $21 – $70 each, but it is also so richly tasty. These banana slices seemed to have a concentrated flavour, that made my brain sing with the happiness many good breakfast memories. The meal seemed over almost as soon as it began, but it was worth every yen.

Final word: If you are living in Japan or are travelling for any length of time and have a bit of homehungriness for a cafe breakfast, find Sentido in Kyoto. Cereal rejuvenation awaits!

Good muesli, Kyoto!

-MM

Home Made Special: OMG Granola – Oh My Ginger!

This latest homemade special is fulfilling a reader’s request to review the muesli that her very brave mother has made in a life-change involving the decision to dedicate her days to creating food through her Yarra Valley-based company OMG Cereals. I have the utmost respect for people making hard decisions to follow their dreams – especially if those dreams are oat related.

I was sent a packet of normal granola, gluten free granola and in a very touching gesture, a high-energy biscuit. If you are reading this, OMG-mumma, I cycled with vigour after eating that cookie!

OMG Granola:

Granola is such an easy breakfast as it does not require soaking overnight to unlock the awesome texture of oats, rather it promises a crunch-fest with simply the addition of milk and yoghurt. Here is the granola pre-yoghurt and for some reason pre-milk. I suppose I wanted to capture the essence of dry breakfast, and I feel like I succeeded:

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The first thing that struck me about this granola was the aroma – upon opening the packet I was met with a spiciness that suggested that I was in for an exotic experience. There was an impressive density of almonds and dried fruit that, in the presence of the spices, created an almost savoury flavour. I’ll admit I was in intellectual and gustatory shock given that granola tends to have very sweet connotations. What an original take on muesli! After the first bite, there was a lingering taste that I couldn’t quite place and that was reminding me of travelling on the Spirit of Tasmania as a rowdy teenager. This was a feeling the required further analysis as I tend not to have seafaring flashbacks during breakfast. With the next mouthful I realised that this granola contains ginger – which I did use as a remedy for nausea back in the day. This is quite a polarising ingredient and I might recommend to the creator of this muesli to ease back on the ginger as it is not to everyone’s taste in such quantities. Nevertheless, it did add to this being a truly unique, refreshingly savoury take on granola.

Final Word: OMG Cereals have tried hard to create a spicy granola that departs from the traditional honey-soaked variants that permeate the market. Due to the ginger content I would certainly recommend this to people at sea, and women suffering from morning sickness. Also give it a try if you are feeling like a savoury breakfast adventure.

Good Muesli, Melbourne!

-MM

Fruits of Passion: Muesli of Indifference

On my first observed Labour Day in five years (thanks, Melbourne Uni) and probably my last for quite a number to come (thanks again) I decided to venture out to Kensington to sample the muesli that Fruits of Passion has to offer. I embarked that morning with a light heart and a special smugness that only comes from knowing that many of my friends and family were being forced to learn or work while I would be triumphantly stuffing my face at breakfast with not a care in the world. Suck it, academia!

Fruits of Passion can be found nestled next to Kensington train station on Bellair Street which is a leafy and inviting location – especially on a languidly sunny public-holiday. Inside, Fruits of Passion can only be described as being proudly Melbourne with a pop-culture tic. Trams and suburb names share the walls with newspaper clippings of sensational stories; bright artwork sit alongside large mirrors and (most likely) faux flowering vines extend down from high ceilings. This is the second instance of ceiling plants I have encountered and instead of screaming “uber-quaint-trendiness here!” these gave off more of a pleasant, welcoming, eccentric-aunty feel. The brick walls, mirrors and concrete floors give the place a very cool, open and airy feel which is most appreciated in the midst of an Autumn heat wave. I very much enjoy the Fruits of Passion decor, it even has a mezzanine! Perhaps. Not really – it has maybe three steps to a higher level so you feel a little elevated – but mezzanine is such a romantic word that I thought I’d include it.

Anyway, myself and company were seated in this elevated area and only after poor Baby Chino suffered the always hilarious indignity of a self-inflicted pants wetting (the classic full-glass-in-lap story) could the menu be considered. I was the black sheep of this occasion as Lord and Lady Marmalade, Ms Sourdough and Baby Chino all eagerly ordered the pancakes. I stayed true and asked for:

Bircher Granola Muesli with Mixed Fruit

I am only slightly paraphrasing here as I don’t recall if it was ‘Bircher Granola’ or ‘Granola Bircher’ and was too caught off-guard by the proposed fusion of these two types of muesli to encode the actual details of the fruity accompaniments. With bated breath I received:

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I’ll admit at this point I was having some post-traumatic-esque flash backs to Dr Dax and the fruity mess I was served there. I did not let my trepidation deter me from my task and on first bite found this muesli to be quite sweet – and not in a forgivable yoghurty way but akin to the way that you know Fruit Loops transgresses against your enamel and insulin profile when you eat it. Perhaps that was the granola – oats toasted in honey and oil – and perhaps it was all of the honey drizzled over everything. I was disappointed at the lack of yoghurt to give the tart creaminess that I enjoy with my oats. The muesli was an oaty mush of a dish either due to this inadequate amount of yoghurt; or perhaps to a lack of commitment to milk-pouring leading to this muesli falling short of the more traditional-cereal plane of liquidity. I did enjoy the banana (as I am a Miss Weet-Bix and Banana in my life away from the glamour of the breakfast world), raspberries and blueberries. I think I even detected the odd raisin (or perhaps it was two sultanas stuck together). These, however, were not enough to absolve this dish from the heinous crimes of nut negligence and apple abandonment – the omissions of two vital ingredients in a Bircher muesli.

This was an exercise in confusion. In trying to make a “Bircher Granola” Fruits of Passion took the worst aspect of granola – sweetness – and did not balance it with the tartness of yoghurt and apple. My hopes were such that this would be a gateway to reviewing granola, but frankly all the Fruits of Passion muesli has done is put me off.

Final Word: Fruits of Passion disappointed me with this muesli. In such a lovely setting I was left to watch, flushed with envy, as my company devoured their sumptuous pancakes – which I would definitely come back to try.

(Not So) Good Muesli, Melbourne!

MM

Fruits of Passion on Urbanspoon