Wide Open Road | Green Refectory
Some of you might wonder how is it I am able to blog so prolifically. I think it’s because for most of my posts, I try to keep my write-ups simple. And the best way I’ve figured to do that is to type out exactly what pops up in my head, making each post almost conversational. As a side effect, my previous lofty ideals of having good, witty-slash-poetic writing has unfortunately given way to a ‘path of least resistance’. Also, sometimes I say things without thinking… bad personality trait!
I arranged a visit to Wide Open Road with fellow brunch fiends Damo and Fakegf on a Sunday after I’d finished work. We were all starving when we arrived. The café had a dark, cavernous feel, with mood lighting coming from the front windows. And a signature feature of that café involved the installation of two rusty supermarket trolleys high up against light cyan walls. Service was warm and friendly, I arrived first and the waitresses kept checking on me whether I was alright there by myself.
Interesting things about the café included how they used vegetables and fruit to flavour the drinking water. Enjoyable to Fakegf, but a bit of a turn-off for Damo. Fortunately, they also had bottles of plain, unflavoured water available, which Damo drank from. I also liked the colour of the pastel-green table implements and the use of metal mess plates for the dishes. Because we were starvin’ that afternoon, we sort of felt that the food took its time to arrive, but were elated when they finally did.
I have to say that Damo is a person who eats quite inscrutably, with a studied, almost methodical approach towards food. That means I don’t know whether he is enjoying his food or not. He’s even scarier when it comes to picking apart cakes and desserts. And even when he says “yum!”, he says it in a way where I’m not convinced he’s enjoying it. So in typical Damo fashion, he ate his chosen dish and drank his iced coffee without comment. I think it satisfied…
Two free range poached eggs on buttered sourdough toast w spiced avocado & Istra chorizo $13.5
‘paired’ w House blend (bathysphere) skinny magic $3.5
Fakegf pretty much enjoyed her brunch dish, commenting that the spiced avocado reminded her of guacamole. She thought it could be spicier, but that’s what she always says anyway when it comes to anything that’s supposed to be spicy. Hah! My little nibble of the avocado tasted a little too oniony for my liking, but would probably have gone well with the strong flavoured chorizo. To go with her meal, she had a lovely, deep-flavoured skinny magic with interesting notes of chocolate and a citrus zest.
This picture collage contains said signature supermarket trolleys-against-walls, with Sunday brunchers looking appropriately upwards at it. That aside, I found my brunch dish all right. The braised tomatoes and olives tasted like a strongly tangy ‘chutney’ because of the marinated olives. I enjoyed the poached eggs though, and the grilled Princi ham was a delight to eat, they came in thin slivers and I wished there was more of it.
My single origin piccolo, sadly, was a let down. It was so very astringent to the point that I sheepishly left it half finished. Even adding sugar did not help.
Love it when yolk spills out from perfectly poached eggs like that… I had a bit of brunch envy over fakegf’s dish, especially the chorizo. Overall, I thought it was a decent brunch, but there were a few niggly things about our dishes and coffees that could’ve been prepared and made better.
And now I’m going to do something I don’t normally do for my Melbourne posts. I’m going to talk about two venues in one post! Ees mentioned to fakegf about this special love cake dessert around the corner at the Green Refectory. So we went there for our sweets:
Brunswick, VIC 3056
Hummingbird cake w cream cheese icing $4.95 (top)
Persian love cake $4.95 (below)
Looking at this place, it’s busy and wildly popular. The menu’s all scribbled on and squashed onto a large chalkboard against the wall. It felt a little hippie to me, but fakegf was spying at the plates of brunch dishes served at other tables and she noticed they were bad-ass HUGE! So definitely the place to go if you are the sort with a big appetite.
Prices are great too, the slices of both cakes that we shared were voluminous and they amounted to less than $10! Brownie slices cost a mere $2.50. The hummingbird cake tasted a little ‘meh’, it was very sweet and tasted like a mix of pineapple and banana cake. Equally sweet (if not more) was the dense and nutmeggy persian love cake. It was reminiscent of a balaklava in its nutty sweetness, with hints of almond meal, pistachio, eggs and butter. Actually, after you got used to the sweetness, the persian love cake was quite lovely to have, especially if you had a tea or cold drip coffee to go with it.