White Mojo (CBD)
- Mojo Espresso Tonic
- Flat White
- Chilli Cheese Scramble Eggs
- Chilli Prawn & Chorizo
- Smoked Salmon
The Chilli Cheese Scramble Eggs were creamy and silky smooth, with a nicely balanced texture without being overly cheesey. With a strong dose of chilli within, this egg dish definitely packed a punch in terms of flavour. Squeezing on the charred lime, along with the soft, lightly toasted buttery brioche helped dampen the intensity of the spice without masking any existing flavours. The huge double smoked bacon sandwiched within, which is prepared entirely in-house, was hands down the best smoked bacon I've ever had. Highly aromatic and bursting with bacon flavour, this was well complemented by a bold smokey taste that didn't compromise nor overpower the bacon itself. Being someone who enjoys a wide array of flavours that are unapologetically bold and forward, I'd definitely say this is THE dish to get and was undoubtedly the standout for me.
The huge king prawns within the Chilli Prawn & Chorizo were grilled to perfection, with a slight charred outer which provided great variation in flavour and texture. The protein was fresh, resulting in a nice crunch with every bite. Combined with the beans purée, some Egg yolk and a slice of chilli, you are rewarded with a highly aromatic and diverse sensations with each mouthful. For a seafood lover, this 'breakfast' dish will surely not disappoint, providing an interesting twist on seafood that's normally not served on any breakfast menus.
Being the slightly adventurous penguin that I am, I decided to also give the Mojo Espresso Tonic a try. Whilst being a coffee lover, this drink was certainly new to me and I was very excited to sample this drink and it surely didn't disappoint. The bubbly and slightly bitter sensation of a carbonated drink, combined with the tangy and fresh slices of lime, as well as the forward flavours of the espresso shot, provided a mixture of intricate and complex flavours that was simply unique and extremely palatable. Now I'm still conflicted as to whether I like this better than your traditional black coffee, but in terms of innovative drinks, this was a real winner.
I also quite enjoyed their Flat White, while technically incorrect to have latte art on top, tasted absolutely flawless. Rich, bold shot of espresso was accompanied by cup of silky smooth milk, providing great depth in flavour. As the coffee lost its temperature gradually, the aftertaste grew more pleasant as the meal progressed. Obviously, this 'traditional' drink was far less spectacular than the Espresso Tonic, but still very enjoyable nonetheless.
The Smoked Salmon most undoubtedly had the biggest wow factor of any dish I've ever sampled. The whole restaurant literally turned around to admire, in awe, as the smoke pouring out from the glass dome to reveal a perfectly assembled plate of food art. The smokeyness was highly aromatic and the plating looked extremely promising. Unfortunately on this occasion, the salmon itself was let down by over-saltiness and the protein itself proved to be rather tough, both of which took away from the actual smokey and rich flavour of a perfectly cooked salmon. Also other components on the plate though did redeem this imperfection. The cabbage purée was exceptionally rich and flavourful, with its smoothness contrasting rather spectacularly with the coarse dehydrated onions and crunchy pancetta. This dish, apart from the salmon, was admittedly rather awesome and was more or less a sensory overload, both in flavour and textures.
Overall, it was an excellent and highly appetising sensory adventure. While the execution wasn't flawless, the menu was definitely innovative and palatable and made for an enjoyable brunch.
Portion sizes were also noticeably more generous, given their head chef in CBD isn't from Vue de Monde...
Would Penguin Eat Again?
Most definitely. While both the City and Balwyn cafes have constantly evolving menus that offer up similar dishes, each eatery differentiates itself by adding it's own unique twist to each dish.
For a more relaxed brunch with an airy and natural setting, their Balwyn eatery wins hands down. However their CBD store definitely offers a similarly enjoyable, but quicker-paced food experience without the trek out to the East side.
For me though, I'd pay both another visit, sooner rather than later!