It doesn’t happen every time, maybe not even most of the time. But this morning was one of those rare occasions when Snooze and I agreed on just about everything regarding our visit to Green Refectory.
First of all, love the feel to the place. Good music at the level to hear in the background but not interfere with conversations with your dining companions. Everything has that slightly distressed look, from the walls to the tables, the mirrors on the walls to the menu items being posted on the blackboard behind the counter.
But unlike some places where it feels a bit put on here it gave the cafe an unpretentious and welcoming casual style. Lots of space early on a Sunday morning, although when I have walked past later in the day it has always been leaking people out the door full. The menu is limited but prices seemed very cheap. And in a great example of leading with your best foot forward, really, really good looking cakes just as you come through the front door.
Combine all this with staff that are both friendly and cute and Green Refectory was off to a flying start. Strangely enough the only slight let down as the morning went on was the food, which looked good and was generous in size but a bit lacking in subtlety or finesse in the flavour department.
Snooze’s choice de jour was the breakfast stack, which from what I could see included a potato patty, tomato, bacon, grilled haloumi and a poached egg. The egg was nicely poached, releasing a small river of yellow goodness when broached. The potato patty could have been crisper, as it resembled mashed potato more than anything else. The bacon was adequately crispy if not as done as I like it, and the haloumi didn’t have the slight salty spark which we expected and was a bit more chewy than squeaky. All up nothing unacceptable or bad about it, just not as good as it had looked on the plate.
Similar comments could be made about my breakfast burrito, with tomato, mushroom and scrambled eggs inside a tortilla wrap, with lots of cheese on top and a few slices of avocado on the side. Looked really good when it hit the table, massive in size but the flavours were a bit bland and confused.
Fortunately though things were redeemed somewhat by the excellent cakes we tried for breakfast desserts. Admittedly we were already quite full after our mains but the cakes looked so good we felt that further research was well justified, which certainly proved to be the case.
Snooze’s choice of the vanilla slice came with passionfruit icing. Now I normally don’t like passionfruit that much, no idea why just never have. In this case though the passionfruit gave a real tangy zing which matched very well with the nice custard.
My choice of the apple and rhubarb pie wasn’t quite as good but still would have qualified as a very good cafe cake. The fruit was fresh and the pastry sweet and crisp but the cake could have been improved by greater contrast between the sweetness of the apple and the tang of the rhubarb.
Good cafe with decent food but outstanding prices and great atmosphere. I’d be in two minds about returning for the breakfasts, as I think there are better if more expensive options in the area. No such qualms about returning for the cakes, which were very good and so very generous for the price. And while occasionally the service did occasionally seem a little disorganised, I can forgive a lot for a smile and friendly attitude.
Food – 7.5
Ambience – 8
Service – 7.5
Price – 8
115 Sydney Road
Brunswick VIC 3056
Tel: (03) 9387 1150