Sunday, 20 September 2015

Feast of Merit

It's been a long time since proper brunch happened. The last few months have been hectic and exhausting, at least compared with the beginning of the year, with both revue rehearsals and shows coinciding with an unexpectedly time-consuming hospital rotation.

I had a break from veganism, and discovered that I don't like cheese and yogurt as much as I thought I did, and am more or less returning to a completely plant-based diet (though I am going to squeeze a trip to Messina soon so I can convince myself I don't really like gelato either).

Meanwhile, Spring is coming in fits and starts, and today was a glorious opportunity to break out the SPF50 for a bike ride south of the river to celebrate a friend's birthday.

The location was Feast of Merit, which I have had bookmarked in my "To Eat" folder since it opened, ticking both gastronomic and ethical boxes (profits go to YGAP).

The menu is middle east-inspired, which works so perfectly in Melbourne whatever the season and the dietary requirements of the diners. Indeed, I was torn between a sweetish, breakfasty thing or a more lunchy savoury thing - that is, muesli versus two of their salads (available for vegans today were the roast pumpkin and chickpea, and broccoli and hummus).

Having foregone muesli on previous occasions because it was too cold, I had to get my fix. The menu lists this as "Ginger, barberry and macadamia Yousli, spiced almond milk, seasonal fruit - Uncrystallised ginger, dry roasted macadamias, pistachios, organic puffed amaranth, toasted coconut flakes, barberries, organic currants, activated buckinis, raw buckwheat, raw cinnamon."

I was slightly put off by the thought of the ginger - I use it copiously in stir fries, and am addicted to the pickled stuff, but don't particularly like it in a sweeter context. And, when it came to eating it, I was mildly alarmed by its presence. Similarly, the spiced almond milk was initially quite overbearing. However, these elements were mitigated by the muesli itself, and I appreciated the macadamias and pistachios, as well as the poached fruit. (Reminding me that I have a bunch of rhubarb in my fridge that has yet to be dealt with.)

When I saw the salads that others in the group ordered, I had a pang of food envy, but I wasn't disappointed by my choice. A good effort, and good feelings all round.