It’s another breakfasty-brunchy post. What the hell. Sunshine, waking up early-ish on weekends. I don’t even know me anymore.
Apte is about halfway between where I live and the city. Could be a good bike ride location when the weather stays good instead of this warm-cold Melbourne nonsense we’re experiencing at present.
Alas, while the staff are sweet and I’m told the coffee is fantastic (5 Senses blend), breakfast was…lacklustre. Here’s a cafe latte for your delectation.
I ordered the ‘apte’ scrambled eggs, with the optional smoked salmon and asked for goat’s cheese instead of the feta that normally comes with that. The staff were pretty cool with that. However, when my dish first came out, there was no salmon. Back into the kitchen it goes to be mussed up and have salmon added to it. It does not give me any pleasure to say that my mother makes better scrambled eggs – these were rubbery and dry.
Ze Bit O’ Meat’s Spanish baked eggs didn’t fare much better. The eggs were overcooked and the yolks looked the ones you get on hard boiled eggs. Really, really disappointing. Normally I invent excuses to visit a place more than once before doing the write-up (‘research’ trips are important, hehe) but as we were leaving, I said to T that I didn’t feel this place needed a revisit.
A shame really, given that on a sunny day it’s a gorgeous space to eat outside, and it’s stylish indoors.
Am I missing something? (about Apte, I mean, be nice!) Perhaps we caught them on a bad day? I’m not too fussed as I can head to Big Dish or Jackson Dodds if I want a semi-local breakfasty-brunchy fix.
I already had the pleasure of attending one of Monk Bodhi Dharma’s breakfast degustations but couldn’t resist the invitation to another. Tresna of Foodhands had organised for a bunch of us to go but she herself could not make it. This meant that I didn’t know who my dining companions were going to be! It was actually pretty exciting.
As usual, I underestimated time needed to navigate peak hour traffic and was late. When I arrived, @laramcpherson, a woman of countless talents, and @cakemistress, another lass of considerable culinary prowess were chatting like fast friends. It was such an honour to breakfast with such diverse ladies!
I don’t know how head chef Kate does it. The menu was so different to what I’d previously experienced here. We were started with a Swedish style smultron lime soup and strawberry salad. If you want to kickstart your tastebuds and your metabolism, this is just the dish to do it! It’s zesty and invigorating.
Although MBD is a fab place if you’re in need of an excellent coffee fix, it also takes tea very, very seriously. With your degustation, you get the choice of two drinks and I started with some tea – their Ceylon Greenfield Estate. I do have a fondness for the crockery used too: the slightly uneven handle-free cup that you clasp between your hands as you bring it to your lips. I plan to go back and slowly work my way through their extensive tea menu. There is something about a perfectly made cup of tea that feels like home. I get horribly grumpy when it’s too hot in Australian summer to drink a cup in the morning!
The next dish had me quaking in my boots. I had completely forgotten to tell the staff that while not allergic to avocado, I can’t eat it because it seems to set off an existing tummy ailment. I decided I’d eat the dish anyway and incur the wrath (that is, crippling pain and swelling) later.
Having said that, this is one of my favourite dishes of the year. Yeah, a big call given some of the fan-freaking-tastic places I’ve dined at. Behold – the King oyster mushroom and avocado ‘carpaccio’ with grated black truffle, drizzled with jalapeno oil. Can they please make this a permanent dish on the menu? Please? I am still dreaming about those gorgeous slices of earthy yet luxurious truffle. (NB. curiously my stomach decided to not to rebel. There was much rejoicing)
Did I mention that this was served with beautiful bread? One type of the miniature loaves had pumpkin seeds, yum!
Time for another beverage. This time I chose the Ethiopian Yirgacheffe as a pourover at Kate’s recommendation. Lucky me, it was the last one available. Alas, my palate isn’t refined enough to pick out the bubblegum characteristics it supposedly has.
We’re not finished yet! Last course was a deconstructed cashew and fresh vanilla bean ‘cheesecake’ with pear, white chocolate & almond biscuit crumble. This was finished off with Jamaican spiced cashews and pear chips. Normally, I hate on ‘deconstructed’ dishes something shocking. No hate here – I loved it and yes, it really was deconstructed as opposed to on my plate in several pieces. In my mind, ‘deconstructed’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘in several pieces’ but rather ‘disassembled’. Again, I blame the arts degree. The texture and taste of the ‘cheesecake’ bit reminded me of the Indian sweet barfi. Alas, if you’re allergic to nuts, then this course is not suitable for you.
Also, out of Lara & Em, I was the only one game enough to eat my pansy. Hey, I’m still alive.
Not content to spoil us with three extremely inventive and mouthwatering courses, we were sent on our merry way with a parting trio of vanilla bean miniature cupcakes, rosewater pistachio truffles and Vanuatu chocolate truffles. Even the inner (and generally well-hidden) girlie girl in me squeed at the sight of the cupcakes.
Just like the first one, all this will set you back $30 and if requested, you can have everything vegan-friendly. I was on such a high from scrumptious food and wonderful company for the whole day. Breakfast really does set you up for the rest of the day!
Monk Bodhi Dharma has just started doing dinners too. I’m planning to have dinner there one day before the monthly Ale Stars session (they’re both very close to each other) – can’t wait.
South Melbourne – home of the brothel! At least that’s what my rudimentary ‘research’ (Googling) has led me to conclude. It makes sense – South Melbourne is primarily a business district; lots of workers need to be ‘serviced’, apparently.
Now the only thing South Melbourne seems to have more of (than brothels) is third-wave coffee places. Between St Ali, Dead Man Espresso, Padre and a slew a smaller cafés the area’s not exactly a coffeeless wasteland. That’s why I was a little surprised when I happened upon a still-being-renovated Freestyle Espresso a few months back, whilst causing a ruckus in the back-streets of South Melbourne (read: lunch-time stroll). Once back in the office I utilised my computer to ‘research’ the venue, and seeing that its presence had already caused a disturbance in the ‘force’ (in food blogger wankster circles), I took a mental note to check back in when it had opened. Fast-forward a month, and the lovely Ms G and I were in South Melbourne, hungry and looking for breakfast action.
Walking into the place it all looked rather pretty – cute little tables, polished concrete floors and pristine shelves of gourmet foodstuffs; not at all out of place amongst the more seasoned South Melbourne cafés. Happy in the place’s ‘swishness’ I moseyed on up to the counter, ordering a latte and Moroccan mint tea to wet our whistles. The tea as pictured above, came in a cute and oh-so-shiny teapot. The tea itself was quite sweet and refreshing, and Ms G seemed to enjoy it immensely.
Opting for my default latte (as I do when confronted with a new venue), I found the coffee to be very drinkable, but not in the same oh-my-gawd league as some of the aforementioned cafés.
We grabbed some of the gorgeous menus (pictured above) and began to scrutinise them over at our table, and scrutinise we did – we were like two hipsters at an op shop, poring over piles of clothing to clad our fashionably emaciated frames, only to lock eyes on the same outrageously ‘ironic’ 80s rainbow coloured mohair cardigan.
In our case the delicious ‘cardigan’ of the morning was the Welsh rarebit. Being the utter gent (or lord, as my brothers would say) I acquiesced to Ms G having the rarebit. From her account it was a tasty bit of fare, and from the mouthful I had it was a good bit of winter food.
In recent times I’ve had a gaggle (or is that swarm?) of good cassoulets (Libertine, Cafe Vue at Heide), so spotting the cassoulet with streaky bacon with the offer of an egg on top (a free set of steak knives is the home shopping equivalent) I was sold. However reality did not quite meet my home shopping network exceptions: what I was presented with was not cassoulet. It ostensibly had the cassoulet ingredients, but really tasted more like a standard breakfast of bacon, sausages, egg and beans. As Ms G noted, stewed beans with assorted other ingredients in a dish does not make cassoulet. Also, being a man of ‘large appetite’ the meal felt a little small, and could have done with a piece of sourdough or similar to hold it together.
While I may have had some issues with the food, the staff were fantastic. Extremely friendly and informative, with the barista giving me a run down on their house coffee, Allpress. While the coffee isn’t at the same level as some others in the area, and there are a few ‘teething’ issues with food, I will most certainly be back to give the café another try.
Given the lacklustre coffee at Freestyle, and the ominous ‘headlight wiper of doom’ spotted in the street (not to be confused with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) Ms G and I decided to navigate the unwashed masses at South Melbourne Market and pick up a coffee at Padre.
The crowds waiting for their Saturday morning fix was a good sign; I thrust Ms G into the line, requesting a latte with the house blend. It was delicious. While I’m not a coffee snob (at present), I do ‘know what I like’ and this was it. I can’t recall the exact flavours, but it reminds me of the blend used at Cup of Truth.
Ms G, the real man in the relationship (not to be confused with ‘The real Julia’) got a long black, delivered in a gorgeous bit of crockery. For her it wasn’t bitter, and very flavoursome in a savoury way.
The wait staff seemed very attentive and efficient, even amongst the fury of Saturday morning markets. If you’re in the area on the weekend or during the market’s weekday trading hours and need your ‘fix’, this is the place for it.