WHOLEFOODS made fresh daily is the philosophy driving Maple + Clove, the newest food addition to Barton’s Realm Precinct.
The menu is designed around wholefoods, high on antioxidants, made with “good-health fats” and natural, low-GI sweeteners.“Nourishing superfoods” is what the dishes are about – it’s all very admirable.
So I was a tad confused when I stumbled upon the chorizo and tomato bake. If chorizo has “good health fats” I’m in heaven, ‘cause I adore it. If not, perhaps it’s low GI? If not, did I care? No, I didn’t. The description on the menu sounded simply too scrumptious.
My dish was elegantly presented, as were many others I saw being served, including items in beautiful glass goblets. My piping-hot bake came in a small, cast-iron frying pan, on a wooden board with a piece of toast made with pure wholemeal spelt flour ($18). I enjoyed every bite and every sip of my creamy cappuccino.
Other dishes on the savoury breakfast line-up that tickled my fancy were house-made baked beans, cooked in tomato ragu with lean-beef sausage ($16) and several items on the sweet line-up. Try the breakfast crumble ($9.50) or quinoa porridge, cooked in coconut milk with banana, walnuts, shredded coconut, chia seeds, cinnamon, and agave nectar ($15). Also try a nutrient-dense smoothie or juice.
Maple + Clove loves kids and has an impressive menu for those up to the age of 12. Providing “stuff’ for kids to do is taken care of with crayons and a puzzle and colouring sheet.
The kitchen is an open concept (the chefs need to remember this) and huge, enabling the café to serve the steady stream of those wanting take away. The fit out is funky and it’s a delight to see herbs growing everywhere in pots.
The take-away operation is neatly tucked away from the main dining area. Two, long, communal tables are in the centre of the dining area and bench seating along both sides. The benches are comfortable, but a bit low for those of us vertically challenged. I needed the Yellow Pages under my derriere to prop me up.
One disappointment was the service. It took some time for my food order to be taken, although the place was far from packed with customers. It was a fair while before my table was cleared. I wasn’t asked if I wanted another coffee – or anything else for that matter – and no one brought a bill. So when I spotted someone at the cash register, I went over and arranged to pay.
Maple + Clove. Open seven days from 6.30am. Call 6162 0777.