Thursday, July 7, 2016

White Mojo, Balwyn (by invitation) by Benny

I am a big MasterChef (Australia) fan, and one of the many things that fascinates me is the plating. Not only is the food expected to be delicious, it is expected to look like a work of art. Outside Masterchef, such things are only seen in the realm of very high-end dining. Or so you might think…

White Mojo first appeared in the CBD a couple of months ago. Its second venue is on the street level of a very new apartment complex in Whitehorse Road, just opposite the Palace Cinema. Large windows admit lots of light into a modern Nordic style blond wood interior with a hexagon motif on the walls and tables, and a larger than life, very colourful mural of a French Bulldog behind the barista.

White Mojo, cauliflower pannacotta
Cauliflower pannacotta

Part-owner Jia gives a friendly welcome. White Mojo Balwyn has only been open for a few weeks, but there is a steady stream of customers of all age groups. Even though it is only a bit after 10am on a weekday, most are indulging in brunch rather than just a morning coffee and cake.

The first glance at the menu reveals some surprises – the expected breakfast and brunch staples (eggs, bacon, granola, avo variations, waffles …) are joined by such things as a Croissant Burger with soft shell crab, Pork Benedict, and a Cauliflower Pannacotta.

White Mojo, matcha latte
Hot matcha latte

Drinks? White Mojo offers a modest range, focussing on quality rather than quantity. Dedication to detail is demonstrated in the fact that black and milk coffees are made from subtly different blends of Sumatran beans, ground on separate grinders so that the distinct flavours are not compromised. The tea selection comprises just four single origin fine Chinese teas. Hot selections are rounded out by Calmer Sutra Chai Tea Latte, Matcha Latte, and Hot Chocolate. Fresh fruit juices are cold pressed, and the complementary water is lightly carbonated.

White Mojo, tea
Bilby Blue has never been a coffee fan, so Jia recommends one of the teas – the Hong Cha Tres Assam. It comes in a charming oriental black iron teapot and is a lovely brew, smooth with subtle fruity undertones. My choice (also recommended by Jia) is the hot Matcha Latte. The barista has won competitions in Taiwan, and it shows – the latte artwork is stunning. As it is my first taste of matcha, I cannot comment on the quality, but I quite liked the creamy milky texture overlaying the strong tannins but with a smooth sweetness that seemed to be part of the matcha, rather than added sweetener.

White Mojo, soft shell crab
And so to brunch. I am a big fan of soft shell crab – so the croissant burger is a no brainer. A crisp, light croissant contains a lightly battered soft shell crab, pickled cucumber, fried egg and chipotle mayonnaise. It is excellent, the runny egg yolk mixing with the mayonnaise to season the perfectly cooked crab.

White Mojo, cauliflower pannacotta
Next, the Cauliflower Pannacotta. Served cold, it arrives at the table under a smoke-filled glass cloche (see first pic, too). A bit of theatre ensues as the dish is revealed – an assortment of disparate ingredients that come together on the palate just wonderfully – scallops, pureed cauliflower, grilled cauliflower florets, poached egg, crispy pancetta, potato popcorn, and cherry tomatoes – all with a mild smoky overtone.

These are substantial plates of food, but they sit surprisingly lightly. Normally, they would be more than adequate for a lunch or brunch, but under Jia’s gentle urging, we try two of the sweet dishes.

White Mojo, Eton mess
The Eton mess is a melange of natural yoghurt, fresh berries, freeze dried fruit, small dollops of strawberry gel and coconut gel, arranged around several architectural shards of not-too-sweet meringue. It tastes great and looks amazing.

White Mojo, compressed watermelon
The compressed watermelon, infused with orange and lime, is a presented on a bed of goat curd, surrounded by a garland of pistachio crumb, cherry tomato and micro herbs, topped with a lime and gin sorbet with a sourness that adds another dimension to the dish. It is another visual and taste delight.

White Mojo, Balwyn
Dietary restrictions are well catered for, with a number of menu items that are gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian or vegan.

White Mojo, Balwyn

Verdict

We loved it
We loved it.

Overall

Much more than just a coffee place. Stunning presentation showcases innovative, delicious dishes, making it a great place for breakfast, brunch or lunch. Prices are slightly higher than typical brunch caf├ęs, but the food is definitely worth it.

Find it at

White Mojo
182-184 Whitehorse Road
Balwyn Vic 3103

White MOJO Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

2 comments:

Laura said...

Can't wait to try it, it's right near my house! :D

Benny said...

Laura, beware. White Mojo's food and service is so good that it could easily become habit-forming! I hope that you enjoy it as much as we did.

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