08/03/2014: Mule had a sign out front today announcing that it was their last day of trade before closing down.
June 8, 2013
Mule has been nestled amongst the Sydney Rd shops for longer than we've lived in Melbourne; I can remember spotting it in our first edition of the Cheap Eats Guide purchased mid-2006. Yet somehow we've always looked past it to Tom Phat, Green Refectory or Wide Open Road. I pointed Mule out again to Michael a few weeks ago and he shrugged it off, so I popped by during my own Brunswick errand run on the weekend.
The menu's mostly all-day breakfast and very veg-friendly, with almost everything boasting a (v) or (v available) and one utterance of (vegan available). There's lots of eggs and toast with trimmings, but also corn cakes, rosti, Cajun tofu, French toast, pancakes and (on the weekend) doughnuts. There's a single brief reference to gluten-free toast up top.
I tried the mushroom croquettes ($14), which come with scrambled eggs on toast, onion jam and a scattering of spring onions. The croquettes were crunchy crumb-crusted and then almost pureed inside, adding some nice depth to a breakfast standard. They called for a little extra seasoning at the table and I almost guffawed at the presence of powdered pepper in a shaker.
Pepper snobbery aside, Mule actually had me a little nostalgic for the cafe scene of five-to-ten years ago. In preference to the third wave coffee roasteries and 63-degree eggs of the 2010s, I'd gladly return to Mule's salvaged furniture, Hollandaise asparagus, berry pancakes and cheery young staff.
Mule got the thumbs up on easy as vegan pie, a generally positive review on The MelBourne Identity and a definitive thumbs down on Breakfast About Town.
146 Sydney Rd, Brunswick
veg dishes $4-15
Accessibility: I believe Mule has a flat entryway and a clear reasonably wide path through its middle, though most tables are tightly packed. I didn't visit the courtyard or the toilets. I ordered at my table and paid at a low-ish counter.