Green Refectory

115 Sydney Rd, Brunswick 3056
Date visited: 9th March 2012

Without any signage from the street except for a coffee sign, Green Refectory is easy to miss as you're walking by if you don't know what you're looking for.  MerlinFan and I were after the all-day breakfast, which was a big plus as I had a prior engagement early in the day.  It was almost 2pm when MerlinFan and I got here - the joint was still bustling with people - half the patrons were standing waiting for takeaways while the others were looking for tables.  Now the menu is written up on blackboards behind the cashier - as you come in, you make your order and let the staff know where you plan to sit.  You are then given a small wooden slab with a letter on it and you go on ahead and find a seat yourself.

When I was accepted my wooden slab I realised there was something wet on my hand.  I looked down and realised that it was dirty - there was some sticky sort of tomato puree or sauce from someone's leftover food smeared on the board and now had transferred onto my hand.  Gross.  0_0

It was crowded in the front room, so MerlinFan and I headed out back, into the long passageway that led into the courtyard.  There were a few tables free so we found seats pretty easily.  It was really sunny outside and quite warm and pleasant - the rustic and quaint decor was a nice touch.

I also liked the interesting different mosaic patterns on the tables.  I however, noticed some dried remnants of food on my side, and had to sit back avoiding it so I wouldn't dirty my elbows, which was quite uncomfortable :(

My coffee came within five minutes of us sitting down, which was good.  It was however not the best mocha I've had - it was more chocolate than coffee, and had an aftertaste that I didn't particularly like.

MerlinFan had the ice coffee.  She really enjoyed the ice cream, but felt that the coffee was too bitter despite the sweet ice cream.
Ice coffee
I was really looking forward to trying the pancakes with caramel and bananas that Green Refectory is known for.  Unfortunately, I have admit I was rather disappointed by my experience.

Pancakes with bananas, caramel and ice cream
The ice cream was the biggest letdown of this dish.  For one, it was already half-melted when it came out.  The melting blob slid right off the stack of pancakes like a big, wet slug as the waiter set the plate down on our table.  It was a sunny day, but I highly doubt the ice cream would have melted that much on its way out from the kitchen!  Either their fridge wasn't working or the plate had been sitting out for a while before being served but here is a close up - see I haven't touched it:

Whatever was left of the ice cream was soft and mousse-like, and wasn't cold, if that makes any sense.  Even before I made my way through my first pancake, the ice cream had turned into a giant pool of frothy foam on my plate and made the rest of the pancakes soggy and unappetising.

I took my first bite of the pancake expecting to be taken to another level, to find it just okay.  It was nice enough, buttery and soft but nothing extraordinary.  The largest pancake was thick in the middle and tasted slightly doughy.  The bananas were more thinly sliced than most other cafes I've been to, and the caramel sauce was just sweet, but seemed to lack that distinct caramel taste.  Needless to say, I didn't finish this dish.

As usual, MerlinFan had to try the French toast with pear poached in white wine and cinnamon and vanilla bean yoghurt.

French Toast
MerlinFan felt her French Toast was very fragrant, light and easy to devour.  She is not a big fan of cinnamon, but for those cinnamon lovers out there, it would be a nice treat.  The pear was delicate and nicely poached, and the French toast was still crispy and had a savoury taste.  The yoghurt was unsweetened and gave the dish a cheesy saltiness which contrasted quite well with everything else.  I had a taste of this dish and I would have to say the cinnamon and spice really stood out - it reminded me of incense and invoked in me memories of browsing through stores with kooky antiques and collectibles.

Overall, my experience wasn't terrible but it wasn't anything to write home to mum about either.  Service was quick, but they could have worked a bit more on the cleanliness with the wooden slabs for the orders and the tables.  I doubt I would return as it's not exactly just a stone throw's distance from where I live.  If I wanted great pancakes, I would go back to Pancake Parlour.

Green Refectory on Urbanspoon


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