It had been a while since Snooze and myself had checked out the brunches at any of Melbourne’s north side cafes, but when I read about a place doing things with a Mexican inspired touch I just had to check it out.
It’s a good thing I heard about this place through the internet grapevine though, because I doubt too many people are going to find it by accident. Located down the side of an office style building down a non-descript Brunswick Street, you’d probably not even see it if you drove past. Once you sit down though it is a nice place to eat. For me anyway it felt a little less like your typical cafe but more like a short term pop-up, something put in place to take advantage of a temporarily available space.
The range of drinks and food on offer is a bit more limited than in many places, maybe because the kitchen area looked quite small. But in terms of novelty and interest they’d rank up there with a lot of the best known cafes in Melbourne. For example, my salted caramel milkshake garnished with honeycomb. Great caramel flavours and the honeycomb did look good, even if it did annoy me a bit when getting stuck between my teeth. For Snooze a ‘Jamaica’, an hibiscus flower drink served with mint and lime. While the flavour was not as strong as I’d anticipated, the mint and lime would make this a very refreshing drink on a hot day.
For me the most interesting dish on the all day menu was the chicken mole. Mole is not something you see that often in Melbourne. It’s a real traditional Mexican sauce, and as I understand it comes in many, many varieties depending on both region and cook. What they all have in common is the use of the many varieties of chillies available in Mexico, and maybe the use of chocolate to give the sauce a rich flavour and thicker texture. Anyway, complexity of flavour is the calling card of the sauce, so how did the version here stack up.
Well, I suspect a mole purist might have some issues but I thought it was pretty good. Not as complex as I’d have hoped for but hey, for what you are paying it’s an interesting diversion away from the typical brunches available around town. Served with black beans, salsa and tortillas, what really boosted the dish was the slightly spicy and acidic kick from the salsa. Place some chicken in the tortilla, ladle on some of the mole, top it with some beans and a dash of the salsa and you have a pretty good anytime of the day meal.
Snooze's choice was one of the sandwiches, I forget the name of which but which came with lettuce, horseradish, avocado, tomato, beetroot spread and Gouda cheese. While I am not usually a huge fan of vegetarian sandwiches this was very good, full of big flavours. While my choice amongst the sandwiches and rolls would have been the pulled pork, I have to say Snooze did choose well here.
Friendly staff, rockabilly music, nice surrounding and a sunny day, there’s not much more you can ask for really. Other than maybe a slightly bigger menu and maybe somewhere inside to sit when the weather isn’t as good, but given the practical constraints of the space they have that may not be possible.
Food (and drinks) – 8
Ambience – 8
Service – 7.5
Price – 7
242 Victoria Street