Name: Maple + Clove
Location: Hotel Realm, Barton
Food et: Avocado, Tomato and Basil $15
Like most Canberrans, I love me a Sunday breakfast. I’m always trying to find new places to try for breakfast, keeping my eye out for places that do more than the usual bacon and eggs, eggs benny and the standard big breakfast. When researching places for a friend and I to catch up for breakfast, I found Maple + Clove.
Maple + Clove ticked all the right Canberra breakfast boxes – nice area, interesting looking food, and it seemed just a little bit trendy. My friend, P, rang up and secured us a table for a late Sunday morning.
When we arrived we found that we were given a table outside, which I think would have been lovely – surrounded by the open and green park area, within the Hotel Realm – if it wasn’t such a miserable day! We were sat for about two minutes before the skies opened up and the umbrellas above the table could do little to protect us from the down poor. Thankfully there were a few seats left inside for us and the other poor outside schmucks, so we all shuffled inside.
Maple + Clove is decked out with a trendy, almost industrial feel. There’s cerement and dark colours in abundance. The area is open, with large doors opening out to the patio, where we had previously been sitting. Most of the cafe is taken up with tables, on the side is a breakfast bar and a place for coffees or take away (they do take away meals – including currys and tagines!!). The kitchen is up the back of the room, and it looks busy!
There were a lot of people there on this Sunday morning, which I thought was odd considering I’d never heard of the place. I suspect that their main customers are from the hotel, but also the niche clientele, that they have tapped in to with their organic approach, who make the trek to the weekend-quite part of Barton.
The menu consists of a lot of healthy alternatives and natural organic produce, some of which I had to Google. The bread is made with spelt flour, which meant Buckley’s to me until I found out that it is a healthier alternative to white flour. I even got a hypo-colour juice which had some vegetables in it. Look at me being all fancy and healthy. For once.
I ordered the Avocado, Tomato and Basil which was exactly what it says on the box, but with spelt flour sourdough and a cashew hummus.
I actually enjoyed this dish quite a lot…after I scrapped half the ingredients off. Too much tomato and (I never thought I’d actually say this), too much avocado – it was too overpowering and I got sick of the taste of both before I was even half way through the meal. Once I halved the vegies, it was a nice fresh dish and hit the spot. The cashew hummus was particularly tasty – I wish they’d had more of it! Sadly the bread wasn’t toasted enough and went quite soggy, which I’m not overly keen on.
P ordered the Wholemeal Spelt Fig + Walnut Toast, which was served with butter and a berry compote.
P confided that what was put in front of her was very different to what she was expecting. The loaf is cut in to two fat pieces and the butter and compote are put in to small jars on the side. The butter was ice cold and near impossible to spread, I’d nearly finished my dish before P had finished buttering! Po did say that she was quite let down by the berry compote, as she was expecting something a little less dense – to me it looked like it was stewed without sugar to break it down. Overall, P did like her meal, though. She said the loaf was tasty, and not as sweet or as dense as it looked.
The service at Maple + Clove was really good. They were very helpful moving us about outside to avoid the rain, and then again when we gave up and move inside. They were attentive and informative, and very friendly. Have no bad words to say.
Verdict: I think Maple +Clove is cool. It’s trying to do something different and I respect that angle. The place is well set out, in a great location, perfect for lazy guilt free breakfasts!