Sunday, November 2, 2014

Lolo & Wren, Brunswick West by Big Fil

On the ground floor of a new and pretty ugly apartment building, in the backstreets of Brunswick West, that's not where you'd expect to find what is flat out one of the best food cafes in the whole of Melbourne.

If you want to experience the food at Lolo & Wren though you'll likely have to line up for a short time with the locals, who appreciate what they have and happily queue outside waiting for a table to become free. Inside it's nice, nothing spectacular but clean, white and bright.  The mandatory communal table sits in the middle of the room, the kitchen is up the back and the tables are well spaced leading to a comfortable dining experience.

The menu isn't as long as some places, but everything sounds good.  So despite only a dozen options it still took me some time to choose what to order.  Indulging my sweet tooth it was the caramelized pear, almond and walnut pancakes for me, served with vanilla mascarpone, rhubarb and blueberry compote, fresh mint and Canadian maple syrup.

This looked stunningly pretty when it come out, and tasted every bit as good too.  Excellent compote, not the half-hearted version you get in some places, not too fluffy but not too dense pancakes, and loved the way the walnuts were also slightly caramelised.  To be very picky, the pear was still firmer than is my preference, but avoided that horrible woodiness you sometimes get with pear.  Just a great sweet breakfast.

Returning the next day it was time for something savoury.  Looking around at my fellow diners choices, all of which looked good, I eventually settled on the Chorizo Cazuela, a baked dish with chorizo, tomato, red wine and chickpea ragu, topped with a Manchego cheese crumble and with the optional poached egg.

While I was originally a bit unsure about the chickpeas - much more the absent Snoozes' normal choice than mine - this was delicious.  Alternatively crunchy and creamy, well balanced flavours from the chick peas and chorizo which complemented each other without either dominating, topped with a perfectly poached egg.  The only thing which would make me hesitate from ordering this again was that everything else which came out from the kitchen also looked so damn good.

Verdict - we loved it

Deserving to be mentioned in the top cafes to eat in Melbourne, less a destination hipster café and more just a great local place that I wish was closer to home.

484 Albion Street
Brunswick West VIC 3055
Tel: (03) 9383 3712

Lolo and Wren on Urbanspoon

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