While we hadn’t officially met, Tresna and I had been conversing on Twitter and I’d found out through her updates that a place was offering a breakfast degustation. Doesn’t that sound like the best thing ever?! Breakfast that just stretches for courses and courses…mmm yes.
So myself, Tresna and Ceri from Healthy Party Girl blog found ourselves at Monk Bodhi Dharma in Balaclava, just across the road from my beloved Local Taphouse. For $30 we would be served four courses with our choice of tea or coffee. It turned out that Tresna and Ceri had met at the Eat Drink Blog inaugural conference and were chatting like old friends when I arrived late. I am so out of sync when it comes to travelling in peak hour traffic by car, whoops.
The first course had just arrived when I did – an Algerian citrus cleanser paired with a Tunisian apple and celery salad. Close up, a shot glass of berry yoghurt with a miniature mint leaf. Various citrus fruits (mandarin, grapefruit, lemon) were used and then topped with a pomegranate seed. A very invigorating and healthy start to the North African themed breakfast.
With our appetites very much whetted, we were greeted with a more substantial course next – a Moroccan mushroom harvest on flatbread with sumac goats’ cheese. As a largely happy omnivore, I don’t want to say that this dish was just like eating meat, but when I do say that, I mean that there are indeed vegetarian-only flavours that are highly pleasing to the omnivore palate. Mushrooms, for example are definitely up there, as are chickpeas which this dish also had. Lovely!
Time for some coffee! We all chose the syphon of the day, an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. A very subtle-flavoured coffee with touches of floral and maybe even some citrus notes? I’m just going on what I could taste as my coffee knowledge is sorely lacking. I drink more tea than I do coffee and found this well suited to me. I don’t really like my coffee to kick me in the nuts first thing in the morning!
Before the next savoury course, we were given a tomato soup cleanser with miniature basil and advised to drink up our coffee before trying it. Gosh, this was so good – how can something so healthy taste so glorious! There were suggestions that it could be ‘spiced up’ with some vodka…ooh yes. An excellent pick-me-up.
The spoils still haven’t stopped! Our last savoury course was a butterbean and baby asparagus tart with heirloom tomato salad and pomegranate lime dressing. The tart was creamy in texture and a great match to the acidity and sweetness of the mango chutney. The tomatoes were heavenly – sometimes vegetables with simple dressings are the best. At least, those are the sorts of salads I tend to prefer.
Just one last course! A North African orange blossom rice pudding with an apple crumble in a beautiful tumbler. At first the rice pudding seemed a little stodgy, but duh me, that is what the shot glass of cream is for! Add that, stir and enjoy the dreamy texture. Don’t be afraid to mix, folks!
The lovely barista chose a pourover for me as I couldn’t decide what coffee to have next – he gave me a full-bodied Kenyan (I confess the name wasn’t obvious to me…sorry about that!). This was very much the opposite to the Yirgacheffe we all started with – robust, rich and thicker.
Tresna sadly had to leave and missed out on Ceri and I nomming some truffles which brought our decadent breakfast degustation to a close. From right to left, you have your standard chocolate, in the middle is pistachio and the colourful one is candied fennel. How wonderfully unusual does that sound? It reminded me very much of anise or liquorice (which I happen to love, though I know a lot of people don’t).
Some fantastic food on offer here for the breakfast degustation and keen for a repeat visit. If you are interested in trying the degustation, do note that you should allow an hour and a half (though they can start at 7.30am) and it’s only offered on Thursdays and Fridays. If you’re vegan, not to worry – dairy substitutes are available (Ceri in fact requested vegan substitutes). Be warned, you might not have space for lunch later in the day!
You can also read Ceri’s account of the breakfast at her blog. I’m sure all three of us can attest that it was worth getting up early for – this coming from the worst morning person ever.