Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Two Monks Cafe, Coburg by Big Fil

Coburg is one of the more hidden gems of Melbourne dining. Footscray or Springvale are probably the first places that would come to mind when thinking about cheap local eateries, but if you want Lebanese or Turkish food it’s Sydney Road you want to be. What I wouldn’t normally associate with Coburg though is modern Melbourne style cafes, something Two Monks successfully brings to the area.

Walking in to the cafe is a bit of an iceberg experience, in that from the outside you expect a small to medium sized place but that’s because 90% of it's below the surface. The high ceilings and deep shop give a real feeling of space, and despite it being a modern cafe the old photos of Coburg on the wall definitely give it a sense of place. It also has an adopted by the community feel to it, from the group of older gentlemen chatting over coffee and breakfast to the mums and kids indulging in weekend brunch (hundreds and thousands shortbread biscuits anyone?).

Menu wise it’s fairly typical modern Melbourne, the sort of thing you’d find in literally hundreds of cafes. While this means it doesn’t particularly stand out in this regard there's a reason why some dishes are offered all around town – they're good dishes that work. Consequently cafes that take this approach need to shine through their execution. Does Two Monks stand out from the pack in this regard? The answer is probably a qualified yes.

Despite knowing we were going for cakes afterwards I chose to risk a potential sugar overload through ordering the French toast, with pear mascarpone, bacon and maple syrup. I think it was reading about the pear mascarpone that dragged me in, something I hadn’t seen before. Ironically while I liked my toast and the bacon was both plentiful and crispy, the pear didn’t rock my boat. I was also somewhat confused by it, was it mascarpone or a pear puree? Anyway, while not sure about the description it was good French Toast.

Sometimes Snooze is very predictable. One of those times is when smashed avocado on toast is on the menu, this time served with lemon and mustard seed vinaigrette, Bulgarian feta and poached eggs on toast. Funnily enough this was one of the rare occasions when I liked the dish more than she did. The point of contention was the vinaigrette. It certainly adds a different taste and texture to the dish which I liked. My major issue with smashed avocado with feta is that it can become quite heavy in texture, whereas here the vinaigrette cut through this nicely. It does result in a different flavour though, with a sharper taste to the avocado. I thought it was an improvement, Snooze would have preferred the vinaigrette a little less sweet and a bit more acid. Potato, Potatoe?

Snooze also picked up one of the homemade muffins from the counter on her way out, her choice the apple and berry. Because we were off for cake elsewhere, the muffin was ostensibly to take home to her youngest daughter Miss C. I'm reliably informed the muffin never made it home and was reported as fluffy and not too sweet (surprising the amount of castor sugar dusted over the top), exactly as Snooze likes them.

A nice modern cafe in an area not overly blessed with them. Snooze noticed that our waitress regularly smiled as she passed (I was seated with my back towards her) and despite being cold sitting near the door it was certainly a nice place to eat. Not necessarily a foodie destination but certainly a quality local place.

Food – 7
Ambience – 7.5
Service – 7
Price – 7

350 Sydney Road
Coburg VIC 3058
Tel: (03) 9939 7197

Two Monks Cafe on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Melbourne cafes said...

Nice place to dining..Hope to visit there very soon..

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