When I hear the word ‘Mammoth’, I don’t usually think pastel pinks and pops of saturated blue.
But I love that’s how the team at the cafe in Armadale have. It’s also the kind of place I would not have touched with a ten foot pole for at least a couple of months, just due to all the hype and excitement it was getting, but when Brad and I are up at an ungodly hour on a weekend to go to an event, only to get a flat tire on the way…where else is there to go at 7:30am in the morning but to a cafe that you know will be absolutely bonkers at 9?
Located in the lofty and leafy neighbourhood of Armadale, Mammoth is gorgeously light and bright when you walk in. Designed by Techne, the space is simple, but with some absolutely gorgeous details (that I’m probably appreciating more now that I work with interior designers). It’s kind of like Scandinavian design, meets a touch of prep, meets spring time colours.
The menu is simply fascinating. Not sure there’s many other ways to describe it! Don’t expect anything traditional at Mammoth; instead, it’s all pushing boundaries and trying out new things. With Melbourne’s continually raising expectations of breakfast, Mammoth certainly pushes out right to the edge of those expectations.
Except for the drinks maybe. Fortunately my chai is as I like it, they get theirs from Chai Boy (one of my favourites) and the coffee looks smooth, beautiful and creamy.
But then we get onto the matter of food and things take a bit of a different turn.
Brad gets the North Shore, smokey ham hock hash with flame grilled pineapple, tabasco, jalapeño popper and poached egg. It comes out looking beautiful, if not a little edgy for breakfast, with each element separate, almost deconstructed. Now I didn’t really try everything on Brad’s plate, and although I enjoyed my mouthful of ham hock, this tested Brad a bit, I mean where do you start? What goes with what? He found the pineapple not quite seared enough for him, and therefore a little bit too juicy; which he didn’t really enjoy with the ham and the egg.
I got the Benedict, a duck sausage with an orange and corn blini, pickled onion, fried egg and smoked maple hollandaise. Although this again looked amazing, I didn’t find all the flavours were there for me either personally. The orange and corn blini was lovely and fluffy, but the orange flavour was quite strong, overruling all the savoury elements for me. The duck sausage was quite lean for me as well, perhaps if this was a little fattier, it might have balanced out the sweetness a bit better.
I do however adore the egg and bacon popcorn, not so much egg flavour, but plenty of bacon, which I pretty much devour in few handfuls (why share bacon with your boyfriend?)
After seeing a few other tables order it, I also cannot resist giving dessert a go and order a serve of the Golden Gaytime panna cotta, with honeycomb, sable biscuit, chocolate and popping candy. Whilst this is an absolute visual treat, and turns the heads of the girls sitting next to the pass as it comes out, I just didn’t love this as much as I absolutely wanted to. The panna cotta was quite firm and dense, without the wobble that I’ve come to love. Perhaps too much gelatin? I did very much enjoy all the toppings though. Honeycomb and chocolate yum.
So where does that leave me? I still enjoyed my time at Mammoth, and felt that for all we ordered, it was surprisingly reasonably priced. I personally enjoy seeing places push boundaries, and giving new things a try. Although I didn’t feel our dishes all the nail on the head, it was certainly still an experience. If though, you’re just after some hearty scrambled eggs or Benedict, look elsewhere!
736 Malvern Road