Thursday, March 07, 2013

East Elevation

March 2, 2013


Brian recently tweeted the news that changes were afoot at local favourite L'Atelier de Monsieur Truffe, with a name change to East Elevation and some sort of rejiggery. Cindy scanned the new menu online, noting loads of similarities to the old menu and an added dose of vegan-friendliness, so we headed on over to investigate.


Aside from the name, it doesn't appear too different: same unmarked red door on entrance, same wonderful high-ceilinged interior, same charming staff. The selection of Msr Truffe goodies for sale has shrunk slightly, but there's still a pretty full range on offer (we left with a couple of dark chocolate blocks tucked into our backpack). We got the rundown from the staff about the recent changes - it turns out that Thibault Fregoni has sold the Truffe brand and headed off overseas, leaving Jade in charge of the chocolate-making and with new management running the cafes. The cafe's name-change was as much to signal these underlying changes as anything else - the same kitchen staff are running things and most of the front-of-house staff were familiar to us from previous visits. Even the menu isn't that different - a few dishes are exactly the same, and the general vibe is pretty similar.

What seems to be new is a focus on offering a range of vegan-friendly dishes - there are four dishes that are vegan by default, plus a handful of others that can be adapted. They're also pretty clear with the gluten-free labelling, although they don't seem to offer gf toast. We decided to see how they fared for restricted diets, both ordering vegan and gluten-free dishes. Cindy ordered the organic coconut and lime tapioca with fresh mango, passionfruit, strawberry and nut crumble ($12).


At $12 this was a whole lot more interesting than my $14 summer porridge at Marmalade and Soul; the tapioca was sweet and citrussy, with the poured over coconut milk adding some moisture. The fresh fruit was excellent and, although Cindy wasn't mad about the use of hazelnuts, it was a pretty impressive dish.

I went savoury, skipping over some delicious-sounding egg dishes as well as a vegan eggplant and mango noodle salad before settling on the chipotle-braised tempeh with mint, zucchini ribbons, coconut and cauliflower puree, oranges, hazelnuts and watercress ($17).


This was spectacular - the spicy tempeh and amazingly creamy cauliflower puree combining with the freshness of the greens and my new favourite way to eat zucchini. The oranges and nuts kept things varied and interesting, and the whole meal just impressed me with its imagination and execution. Admittedly I'm kind of a sucker for anyone who'll serve me tempeh but this really, really hit the mark.

A few more things remain unchanged at East Elevation: they have the same impressive selection of pastries and sweets up at the counter and they take their hot chocolate very, very seriously. We had some time to kill, so we decided we'd better see if their standards had slipped.

Cindy's single origin hot chocolate was ridiculously rich and gloopy - really just like drinking melted chocolate. Which is no bad thing at all.


Our sweets (a passionfruit yo-yo for Cindy and a pain au chocolat for me) were top notch as well - the pain au chocolat was a bit less brown, crunchy and flaky than I remember from previous trips, but the dark chocolate was as good as ever.

Reassuringly, East Elevation hasn't strayed far at all from their L'atelier de Monsieur Truffe roots - the food is still excellent, the atmosphere cool and relaxing and the chocolates and sweets as fantastic as ever. It's brilliant that they have such a great range of vegetarian and vegan meals as well - they're really doing their best to compete with places like Wide Open Road - hopefully it goes well for them.

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Read about our previous visits to L'atelier de Monsieur Truffe here, here and here. I'm not sure anyone has reviewed East Elevation yet (it's unclear which iteration of this place this Hey Bambini post relates to).
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East Elevation
351 Lygon Street, Brunswick East
9380 4915
veg dishes $6-18
facebook page

Accessibility: Excellent. A ramp on entry, great light, lots of space and a dedicated disabled toilet. Ordering happens at the table and payment at a reasonably low counter.

6 comments:

  1. OK, so now I am a little homesick. I have yet to locate NYC replacements for this, Mankoushe and Brunswick East Project. It's a big city so they're probably out there. Just perhaps not all in the same street :(

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    1. NYC replacement for Brunswick East Project is without a doubt the Brooklyn branch of Blue Bottle Cafe. Check it out.

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  2. Oh my monkey. So good. So good! I want it all!

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  3. Hey guys! Just wondering where you read the online menu? I couldn't find it on their facebook page. Thanks!!

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    1. It used to be on their FB page - maybe they've changed it around. Anyway, there's a picture we took of it here: http://s192.beta.photobucket.com/user/wheresthebeef_blog/media/wheresthebeef3/IMG_5520_zpsb6418ee1.jpg.html

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  4. I'm not a huge fan of tempeh but I'm seriously drooling over that salad! Wow! You're really selling it to me :)

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