Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Australian Mushroom Growers for their 2013 Mushroom Mania campaign. Venue was of my choosing, meals paid for and as always, my opinions my own :)
Let me tell you a little secret.
I hated mushrooms as a kid. Along with peas, they were detested in my childhood. But fortunately, I did a little bit of growing up (just a little now, nobody wants to grow a lot!) along with my palate and I now kind of adore mushrooms and they're one of my go to ingredients, on the odd occasion I'm cooking at home.
So I was quite excited when I was asked to be one of the official bloggers for Mushroom Mania, a tribute run by the Australian Mushroom Growers in the month of July, to showcase mushroom dishes in different restaurants, cafes and other dining establishments throughout the country.
Which meant only one thing to me…time to head out for brunch!
Having come back from America though, and hardly paying attention to my twitter feed as to what was new and happening while I was away, I was at a bit of a loss as to where to check out. Seriously Melbourne, you're ridiculous with your restaurant openings.
But when Kate mentioned on twitter that Tall Timber is the 'bomb diggerty', I knew I had to hot foot it there, stat! So Caryn got brunch-called and we met up at Tall Timber on a rather blustery Sunday morning to catch up on the shopping I had done in the States and plan out her wine and cheese birthday celebrations.
Created by the people who brought us Coin Laundry and Station Street Trading Co., it wasn't surprising really that upon arrival we were greeted with a 30 minute wait for a table of two at 11:30am. What were we thinking really?
The place was buzzing, waiters in smart brown aprons with evergreen ties, couples and families waiting by the door to be seated. The space was clean and bright, with large windows at the storefront and brick walls painted in a brand spanking new and clean shade of white. It did feel a bit like Coin Laundry, but a tiny bit rougher around the edges.
I, for some forsaken reason, had not had a soy chai latte upon arriving back on Melbourne soil, so my soy chai at Tall Timber was a treat. It could have used more spice and love, but the milk was smooth and velvety, and I was pretty happy.
Caryn enjoyed her coffee, after downing her first one fairly quickly, she was quite tempted to order a second…'because it was yummy!' Or so she kept telling me.
Caryn ordered the open sandwich of poached eggs, avocado salsa, Kaiser flesh bacon, roasted romas and a beetroot relish. Normally served on ciabatta, they had run out and instead she had it served on a few slices of sourdough.
The eggs were cooked well, and I loved how colourful her dish was, but she did comment that while tasty, was lacking that 'wow' factor for her and tasted a bit 'monotonous'. We theorised that maybe it needed some texture, so some crunchy nuts or dukkah, or a sharper and brighter flavour to contrast, like a bit of the goats curd from my dish, which she thought made for a good match with hers. She did like the beetroot relish though!
I of course, jumped to the portobello mushroom with goats curd, almonds and balsamic.
I've always loved the meatiness of portobello mushrooms, my mum often fills them up with chopped garlic and grills them on the barbecue at home, but the balsamic glaze at Tall Timber gave a very pleasant sweetness and also gave the rather earthy and 'meaty' mushroom a rather different character. A bit lighter, a bit springier. I fell in love the creamy, creamy goats curd, which added a burst of flavour, but not overwhelmingly so. All up, especially on the rather seed dense bread it was served with, I really liked the portobello mushroom dish. I maybe wouldn't have minded an egg on it, just for a little more protein, but it made for a relatively light and healthy brunch option.
After we finished our munching, Caryn did get her second coffee, and I opted to get a hot chocolate as a second drink. It was pleasantly light, but with enough cocoa to satisfy my need for a chocolate hit.
For the most part, Tall Timber is great, serving good food (Caryn and I were going to order a French toast we saw floating around while waiting, but they had run out by the time we were seated. Sigh!), with polite and efficient service, albeit in a slightly hectic setting for a weekend (but this is Melbourne, surely that's expected). I think I would enjoy revisiting Tall Timber during the week, when the staff are a little less harried and can take a moment to breathe!
So what about you guys? Where are your favourite mushroom dishes? You could have the chance to win one of 40 $100 restaurant vouchers, simply by sharing some of your favourites! Find out more here.
Don't forget to check out where else the other Mushroom Mania bloggers have been eating out around the country too!
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