Green Refectory, Brunswick

I am officially unemployed, which means I have plenty of time, right?  Not exactly.  I still have to do errands to prepare for our great adventure, but I’m not tied down at a desk anymore.

Today I needed to drive to Thornbury to get our mechanic to check out the Troopy after a huge service last week.  The appointment was at 1:30pm, which gave me some time to hang out in Brunswick and sample the fare at one of Melbourne’s most popular cafés, Green Refectory.

If I wasn’t heading straight for it, I could have quite easily walked past without realising it was a café – there are no tables out the front and no fancy signage.  Once inside, I immediately noticed the enchanting decor.

There was a contrast of old red brick, smooth white and green weathered walls, wood furniture with mismatched chairs and raggedy cushions.  Some of the walls were cluttered with second-hand mirrors and vintage posters and the tables were dressed with a vase of white flowers.

Light poured in from the front and back windows and you could see that the café continued through to an outdoor courtyard at the back.

I found a place to sit, and quite easily considering the word that this place is ALWAYS packed.  I approached the counter, squinted at the blackboard menu behind the register, and found myself indecisive.

I looked at the guy with his ultra-cool Johnny Suede hair and asked, “Breakfast stack or breakfast buritto?”

He looked to his left at his college with a mop of curly, unruly hair, they made brief eye contact and both turned back to me and synchronously said “The Stack!”

I sat down with my order number and waited for my second breakfast and soy latte to arrive… and it didn’t take long at all!

It wasn’t a cascading coffee, and it wasn’t as creamy as what I was expecting either.  The flavour was robust, unlike the coffee that I have been having lately, but not bitter.  I enjoyed it but I’ve had better-tasting coffee elsewhere.

It was about now that a lady asked if she could come around behind me to sit down at my communal table so I shuffled in my seat to let her in. She sat down in front of me and started to read the paper.

My breakfast arrived shortly afterwards and I was surprised at how quickly everything came out!  Both the lady and I laid our eyes on this masterpiece dish, and she leaned over to ask what it was and we ended up having a really nice conversation.

Sophia, if you’re reading this – it was lovely to meet you.

The breakfast stack consists of a mashed potato cake topped with tomatoes, bacon, haloumi cheese, basil, wilted spinach and a poached egg, surrounded by a sweet and spicy tomato relish.  All of this for $10… WTF?

I started with the tomato relish, because I wanted to clear some space on the plate for the rest of the ingredients so they wouldn’t be tainted with the overpowering sweetness.  I scraped some smooth, creamy and fluffy potato from the bottom of the stack to soak up the rich relish which was full of soft cloves.  It wasn’t like all the other relishes that I’ve had before.  It was really warming from all the spices and had a really mature flavour.  It would have definitely overpowered everything else though so I did my best to mop it up before conquering the rest of the stack.

The bacon was cooked well, the egg was perfectly gooey and the addition of haloumi added another interesting texture and saltiness.

Overall, it was a very filling and delicious breakfast, and at such a great price, I’d love to come back and have a repeat or try the breakfast buritto.  The staff were really friendly, confident and happy to joke around and make you feel welcome, and the decor was beautifully elegant and refreshing.  I can see why this café is one of Melbourne’s favourites.

Green Refectory on Urbanspoon

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