Tuesday, May 20, 2008

May 11, 2008: Green Refectory

One day we'll have sampled all the breakfast options in our surrounds. It might take a few more years given how long it takes us to visit places as highly recommended as Green Refectory. A few of our friends have spent months raving about their affordable and delicious muffins and the quality of their coffee, but we've been too lazy to make it all the way across to Sydney Road.

After some missed opportunities, we'd booked in a post-breakfast ACMI trip, and Green Refectory was as good a mustering point as any. There was a shortage of tables inside we trusted that the weather would hold, made our way to the back alley, and pulled together an impromptu group table. It's all counter-service so, after downing some very impressive coffee, we wandered back in and browsed our options. There were plenty of veg meals, some sweet and some savoury - I decided to brave the rather hefty sounding breakfast stack ($9): a potato cake, slabs of haloumi, tomato chunks and spinach, all topped with a poached egg. The egg was just slightly over-poached and the potato cake was a bit soggy, but otherwise the stack was pretty good - basically any excuse to have haloumi at breakfast will do me.

Cindy couldn't resist the muffins, going for a two course muffin-meal: a pumpkin, feta and pine nut (with added zucchini, cheesiness and sundried tomatoes - $3.50) for her savoury first-course and then a raspberry, choc chip and pear muffin ($2.80) for breakfast dessert. They were not the most photogenic treats - all lumpy with fillings. Both were a little less nutritious than Cindy prefers, but they were good value and rich with flavoursome bits and pieces.

The staff were helpful and friendly, curious as to how we'd all managed to sneak out on Mother's Day without getting in trouble. That's just one upside of developing a gang of ex-pat Brisbanites*.

Address: 115 Sydney Road, Brunswick
Ph: 9387 1150
Price: veg breakfasts $2.50 - $14

*This review is dedicated to our wonderful Mums!


  1. That breakfast sounds great! It's always great to see vegetarian option outside the Big Vegie Breakfast with the usual suspects.

  2. Yep, it's a good-looking plate, isn't it? I think the original version included bacon but there were no problems leaving it out.

  3. this is a place I am fond of - great for a quick snack but have enjoyed a few meals here too - pumpkin fetta muffins are just my sort of thing

  4. I think those muffins look great. I've heard that the lumpier and chunkier a muffin is, the lighter and yummier it will be!

    Mmm... muffins!

    xox Sarah

  5. Johanna, it's hard to believe it's taken us so long to get there! It seems to be well known for the muffins, and they sure do have a lot of them on sale in the morning. :-)

    Sarah, I've read that too but I have trouble leaving well enough alone in my own kitchen. :-P My muffins are frequently overmixed!

  6. Long time reader, first time commenter. I've been meaning to suggest Green to you guys - especially the brekkie stack (one of my fave brekkies in Melb - love the relish!) and muffins (best in Melbourne, IMHO). You have to go back soon to try the baked bean and feta pie, mushroom pie, vanilla slice (I'm not usually a fan of the VS, but this one is pure brilliance) and any of their lovely cakes.

    Cindy, since you love sweet things, I can highly recommended the raspberry pancakes at Mule across the road, the poached pear and honey ricotta pancakes at Small Block, and the citrus pancakes at The Commoner.

    I just moved away from my beloved Brunswick to Toronto, and I miss the food there so much. I was really spoilt for choice in Brunswick! Oh, and the falafel at Tiba's on Sydney Rd is one of the best in Melb too.

  7. Hi twistedbrick! Thanks so much for that personalised list of local favourites - I've bookmarked it for future reference.

    Michael and I have visited Toronto once, almost 4 years ago, when we had just gone vegetarian. We were blown away our visit to the restaurant Fressen! (A pic of the dessert we ate there may well qualify as my first food photograph...) Admittedly quite some time has passed and my edible education has since progressed, but I'd still encourage you to pay Fressen a visit. Hopefully you'll soon develop a set of your own local favourites again. :-)

  8. Thanks for the tip. I have found a good bakery and coffee shop, but haloumi is very hard to find!

    One more Brunswick suggestion: Robbie's Stein (opposite Barkly Square) has some of THE BEST hand cut hot chips in Melbourne - ranks up there with chips from Grill'd. Robbie's Stein also has melt-in-your-mouth lemon tart.

  9. Ha, by funny coincidence I visited Robbie's Stein for the first time last night! However it was late and the kitchen was closed - I'll be back for the chips, then. :-)