Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Scarvelli Cafe

Diclosure: I was invited to dine as a guest at Scarvelli Cafe

Staying plugged in to the food and wine buzz is fantastic fun, always abreast of what's opening, what's delicious and what are they doing for dessert this week over there? 

But at the same time, because I can be so busy staying clued in on what's coming up, I don't necessarily see what's being hidden underneath all the media and hype and little do I know, that a real great little find could be just down the road.

Such is the case with Scarvelli Cafe, the name was unfamiliar, but it was just down the road from an old favourite of mine, Snow Pony, so when I was offered the opportunity to check it out (and after a quick scout of all the delicious looking photos on their Facebook page), I was quite excited to say yes!

It's an adorable little buzzy space, a little mish mash of eclectic bits and bobs and pops of colour giving it a home spun appeal. Books that sit on planks supported with metal pipes, and a puzzle of crates all tetris-ed together to make shelving. It's super cute.

Snuggling into a seat by the window, we tuck into our delicious piping hot drinks. My soy chai is rich and wholesome. 

The menu reads like a tease, as I end up wanting to order everything on it! Banana bread served with espresso mascarpone and candied hazelnuts, a luxe gluten free museli with puffed grains, toasted nuts, seeds and dried fruit with raspberry coulis, coconut porridge…how is one to choose?! I loved that it was a whole lot of brunch classics, but all dressed up a bit, with just enough difference to get me super excited about the whole affair. 

Brad opted for the sauteed mixed mushrooms with thyme-garlic butter, persian feta and toast, which was one of the prettiest mushroom brunch dishes I think I've seen! Scarvelli obviously prides themselves on their presentation, with hardly a mushroom out of place on the purposely positioned bread. This was just delicious, the mushrooms beautifully seasoned, and the feta providing a beautiful creamy texture. 

I couldn't resist the dukkah eggs, spiced crumbed poached eggs, sitting on a bed of cauliflower puree with pomegranate and pine nuts. Wow. Just stunning! I felt like I should be at a Moroccan restaurant at dinner ordering a main! The poached eggs were perfect, a lovely crunchy crust, with oozy yellow yolks. I swooned upon trying the puree, as it was just so silky, sweet and smooth, I just don't have enough vocabulary to express how good it was! The nips of pomegranate added fun pops of texture and sweetness, with the pine nuts bringing it all back down with it's rounded earthiness. 

Simply stunning.

I was also recommended to get some bread as well (as this dish didn't come with any) and the gluten free seeded bread that I got on the side, was perhaps some of the best I've had! Toasted, crunchy, sesame seeds, yum. It's just the thing for wiping up the cauliflower and oozy yolks.

From our spot at the window, it was fun to watch the locals pop in and out, I was surprised to see how busy it was (without being crazy full like Snow Pony gets), a steady flow of people in and out. It's obviously well loved by the locals in the area. Kids with cool batman hoods, grandma's with their yoga mats under their arms, the young couple with their hyperactive puppy at an outside table; Scarvelli seems to manage to appeal to just about everyone! 

I also tried their pear, celery, lemon and ginger juice (to pretend I'm healthy or something like that). Big thumbs up over here!

As we went to the counter to say goodbye to the manager, I was presented with a couple of their baked goodies to bring home, which are made fresh every morning. I forgot to take pictures…but they were seriously delicious. I had a cookie treat with strawberry Chantilly cream sandwiched in-between, which was surprisingly bold and abundant in flavour, but so smooth, with the short cookie just crumbling into the filling with each bite. Swoon!

I left Scarvelli cafe immensely impressed, and definitely very keen to be back soon, and will probably visit over Snow Pony for the absolutely beautifully crafted brunch dishes, chilled and friendly vibe and smiles. That, and whipped lemon butter with the fruit toast. Mmmmm.

Scarvelli Cafe
143 Whitehorse Road
Balwyn 3103

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