April 24, 2011

117 Lygon Street, Brunswick East
Note: Unfortunately, Gingerly has since closed. Thanks for the Syrian french toast, which will forever live on in my memory!

Food porn, for your enjoyment.

Disclaimer: All of the beautiful photos in this post were taken by Alice, whose photo blog has plenty more lovely shots of other places she’s been.

Last Saturday I met with the lovely Miss A for lunch at Gingerlee in East Brunswick. It was a wonderfully sunny day as I drove through the wide, tree-lined streets of Carlton, past all the terraced houses. After getting slightly lost on the way there (“Is it past the giant cemetary??”), we were sitting in the sun, perusing the menu of this Lygon St cafe. East Brunswick is not an area I am well acquainted with, so I was eager to scope out the place, and find potential new brunch/lunch destinations. I must also tell you now that Miss A is a brilliant photographer, so this post will largely be composed of her brilliant macro shots, enjoy!

My first impressions were positive, lots of people eating there, mostly outside, grey but not dull interior, fairly minimal decorations from what I could tell, nice smells coming from the tables around us, the sound of trams rattling up and down Lygon street. The menu at Gingerlee has distinctly moorish influences, and I immediately set to work (as per usual), scribbling down other items on the menu that interested me but that I didn’t order on the day. Normally this list includes 2, maybe 3 other dishes I’d like to sample in the future, but I had almost two pages of notes, and that was before I even got to the lunch menu! It all sounded very appealing, here are some, and I must emphasise only some (I was beginning to feel rude neglecting A), of the other things that struck me:

Poached eggs with slow braised field mushrooms, persian feta, avocado and lemon (which Miss A ordered and enjoyed)

Gingerlee breakfast – poached eggs and bacon with chilli jam and a Bloody (or Virgin) Mary. I really loved this, a Bloody Mary for breakfast, thought it was quite novel, to which A casually replied, “oh yeah, a lot of places around here serve Bloody Marys for breakfast. Great for hangovers”, and I tried to imagine cafes in Camberwell, Kew and Balwyn doing the same…hmmm, not likely…

Pork and fennel sausages with poached eggs on sourdough

Shakshouka – baked eggs with israeli tomato casserole

Moroccan tagine style baked beans, yoghurt, coriander and lemon on sourdough toast

Lunch: roast pork roll with apple and mint slaw and pear chutney

Slow roasted beetroot salad with creamed feta, pinenuts and rocket.

(See my review of the inspired steak sandwich and pork roll at Gingerlee)

First up, the requisite coffees. A originally thought she’d get something cold to start, but soon realised the error of her ways and ordered a cappuccino instead – I love the terracotta coloured cup. And me, predictable me, got a latte. It was very good, strong, perfect temperature, and I was tempted to get another, but resisted. Lovely looking froth too. Though it was a warm day and we were sitting in the sun, it was very windy, which made it a little chilly at times, so the warm coffee was welcomed.

I (as if you can’t tell from the ginormous photo at the start of this post), had the Syrian french toast with orange blossom syrup, honey labne, stewed rhubarb and pistachios. By far my favourite photo that A took was that one, because you get the colour and height of the dish with the background of shops on Lygon St. You can scroll up to view the foodie smut again if you so desire. Oh heck, I’ll put it in again anyway!

In writing these posts, I always refer to the notes I’ve taken on the day. Here’s what I had for my dish:
– Syrian french toast, rhubarb, labne etc.
             – oh my!
It was a stunning dish, wonderfully presented, well balanced flavours, especially the tart batons of soft rhubarb with the tang of the honey labne. I’m not normally a sweet person, especially not for breakfast, but this was just fantastic, and I really enjoyed it. It kept me interested for the whole meal, which is sometimes difficult for sweet dishes. I especially liked the texture of the shards of toffee-like bread and the rubble of pistachios on top. Oooh, yummy!

Ok enough with the pictures of the french toast! But honestly, if you go to Gingerlee, and you’re in the mood for something sweet, please please order the french toast. You will not be disappointed.

A had the poached eggs with avocado, mushrooms and Persian feta. I love every single element in this dish, and I very nearly ordered it myself. It looked great, the avocado in the picture looks slightly brown but that’s not because it’s over-ripe, it’s just the slight brown tinge from the edge of the skin. The mushrooms are there also, just tucked away behind the eggs, which burst and spilled out beautifully onto A’s toast. I was able to steal a few mouthfuls of feta towards the end, and it was so so so good, creamy and melty delicious, I’m sure it complemented the rest of the dish perfectly.

*Sigh. This is why I love food so much. See how it can excite you? That’s also what I love about Melbourne – just when I get sick of seeing one type of dish or ingredient, I try a new place and bingo – a new and exciting menu of dishes! I was completely sated after this meal. Satisfied. Elated. Replete. I shall definitely be coming back to Gingerlee, if only to have the french toast again!

Gingerlee on Urbanspoon

Filed under: Brunch, Brunswick East, Coffee