IT was the morning before Canberra’s 100th birthday and Mo?an & Green Grout, a compact and eclectic café (in every sense of the word) was pumping.
The line-up at this NewActon eatery was noticeably long when I passed the entrance to find a car park but, hey, it was a big day in the nation’s capital.
Mo?an & Green Grout is a destination for those who like a buzzy breakfast. It describes itself as a “café with a conscience”, doing all the right things such as growing herbs and veggies, composting and supporting local producers.
What I love is the feeling that you’re sitting in someone’s home, smack in the middle of their kitchen. Indeed, the dark-green marble bench table is half for clients chowing down and half for chefs cooking up a storm… so very communal. And I approve of the hooks for ladies’ bags (no woman enjoys tossing her bag on a café or bar floor).
Sitting on shelves are well-used cookbooks, scales and “odds and sods”. Blocks of wood form a feature wall, on which hangs a roll of brown paper recording specials. But enough of the décor. Let’s taste the food.
The breakfast menu is smallish but super interesting. I was going to do a “my-body-is-my-temple” breakfast and have rose-scented Granola, rhubarb and yoghurt ($9), but that wasn’t meant to be. When I walked inside, I smelled heavenly chorizo being cooked and so ordered that with fried, free-range eggs ($16). My breakfast plate was adorned with two small mounds of piped, creamy avo and a small amount of corn sprinkled about – the effort to plate up nicely noted. The chorizo had kick and the eggs were cooked “just so”.
My friend went for the smoked salmon loaded on top of a proper bagel, tarted up with whipped lemon ricotta and salty capers ($9). Another dish that would have made my taste buds dance was the Tripoli baked eggs with hummus, spiced radish and yoghurt ($15). If you want something small, Mo?an & Green Grout offers organic pastries.
While I loved the delicate leaf pattern on my cappuccino, I can’t say it was even close to one of the best I’ve had, lacking in depth and flavour, but I tip my hat to Mo?an & Green Grout for serving fair trade coffee. I also tip my hat for the free wi-fi.
One real concern was overall congestion, especially for those sitting on seats low to the ground. I was on tenterhooks waiting for rushed staff to trip or spill a hot coffee. Work on better spacing and flow would serve the place well.
Mo?an & Green Grout. Open seven days and some evenings,19 Marcus Clarke St, 6162 2909.