Ascot Food Store

320 Ascot Vale Rd, Moonee Ponds Vic 3039
Date visited: 2nd November 2014

Our trip up to Ascot Food Store was kind of a spur of the moment - we were looking up a spot to brunch, when I remembered some photos I'd seen online and on Instagram of the fun syringe-stabbed doughnuts. 

It was a chilly, dastardy Sunday, but that was okay, we figured hot coffee and brunch would  hit the spot.  I made the drive up to Moonee Ponds, and we got parking fairly easily in one of the neighbourhood streets.  

The joint is pretty unassuming, looking rather dated and almost retro from the outside, but the interior was very much your hipster Melbourne cafe.  When we entered the warm interior of the cafe, we were offered a table straight away, and we thought great, how opportune.  Until we sat down and people departed, opening the front door.  Argh, the cold arctic winds!  Brrr!  Then again, it was better than being stuck outside in the frigid wind, but still!  It was borderline stifling one moment and I'd want to remove my jacket, then someone would open the door and I'd be blasted by cold air again.   If only people would close the damn door!  At least there was a diligent waiter who kept going to close to door every few minutes - maybe it was his job for the day (poor guy) but it was much appreciated!

The menu is awfully impressive, with offerings that range from Coconut sago pudding to 62 degree eggs, soft shell crab burgers and ramen.  Their coffees are from Proud Mary, and they also offer Mork hot chocolate, juices, milkshakes and an array of teas.  Awesome.

We had coffees to start off with.  MerlinFan had a Latte, which she liked as it had a sweet, candy-like scent.  I had a Cappuccino which was all right - a bit weak for my liking.

I loved the potted plants by the window sill, and the little test tubes used to hold salt and pepper.  How adorable is that!

I had intended to get some form of breakfast fare, but changed my mind the moment I saw the Gippsland beef grass fed fillet, shaved fennel parsley salad, tomato jam on the menu.  

Gippsland beef grass fed fillet $20
Such vibrant colours!  Admittedly, when I saw the eye fillet, I was a bit wary as it was my least favourite cut of beef.  Not because it may be too rare in the middle, but because the opposite - sometimes the edges get overdone and dry.  

Fear not, this fillet was perfect.  Nicely pink and succulent in the middle, but still tender all around.  Lovely sauce and tomato jam, however the dressing of the shaved fennel parsley salad was reminiscent of Strepsils, so I left that aside.  Not that it mattered, because we also got a side of French fries.  Crunchy, salty shoestrings.  Yum.

French fries $5.50
I had food envy when I saw MerlinFan's dish.  She chose wisely, going for the Duck egg, toasted brioche, shitake mushrooms, parsley butter and shaved pecorino.

Duck egg brioche $17.50
Such love and art put into this beautiful presentation.  The perfect duck egg sat atop a bed of shitake mushrooms and a thick, indulgently buttery toasted brioche.  It was then finished off with a generous sprinkling of shaved pecorino and a few greens.  Smashing.  

I was tempted to have dessert, but MerlinFan had enough of the unpleasant blasts of cold air from the front door left ajar.  We decided to get some goodies for the road.

There were a few doughnuts left in the box on the countertop, rather comically (considering Halloween just come and gone) with "used" syringes tossed on the side >:D  On offer were the raspberry jam, chocolate and lemon meringue doughnuts.

The girl did warn us that the doughnuts were a bit squashed.  That was an understatement, for the meringue on our lemon meringue doughnut was an unsalvageable mush on the box cover and disappointingly, she had also removed the syringe for the raspberry doughnut which also removed the novelty of "injecting" our own doughnut. Sometimes I don't know why cafes don't get boxes that actually can fit their takeaway goods?  We eat with our eyes first and that kinds of defeats the purpose, if you know what I mean.  So obviously no pictures of the hot mess.

The doughnuts itself were nicely crunchy on the outside, the dough just slightly savoury.  Without the novelty factor, I suppose they were just another doughnut, so if you're going, you might want to have them there.

Arctic winds and squashed doughnuts aside, I did enjoy our meal and do still want to try a few other dishes on their very impressive menu.  Service and staff were efficient - I would like to return - on a warm day, of course. 

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