On the internal list in my head that contains all the food places that I really want to visit, Le miel et la lune has been hovering at the top for an embarrassingly long time. It’s right along my work commute, I’m in Carlton pretty much all the time, the space has always looked like a wonderfully inviting one, and the more I heard about the Asian influences that feature throughout the menu, the more intrigued I became.
I finally managed to get there along with Muffin for lunch after a morning screening of Dallas Buyers Club (which, eh… I was really squicked out by the film’s pretty limiting representation of trans* folks, it is really a film about gay issues for straight people). The space has been nicely utilised since the days of What About Food – there’s still a nice big table up front by the open windows for bigger groups, bright cabinets filled with cakes, and the whole place is so sun-filled at pretty much all times that it becomes a really pleasant place to while away time in.
The menu does indeed have an Asian influence peppered through it, with ingredients like kimchi, yuzu chicken and even a special of eggplant tempura (oooooooooo) featuring. While I was intrigued by the 12 grain rice, and the cabbage water kimchi with konyyaku noodles (because why wouldn’t you be?) I ended up choosing something just a touch more conventional with the vegan breakfast – grilled asparagus, with crushed potato salad served on flaxseed bread. I was initially a little worried that the toppings wouldn’t be moist enough to balance out the bread, which I imagined was to be quite dense. But I was happily surprised both with the creaminess of the potato salad – must have been some kind of nut cream going on to bind it all together – and with the flaxseed bread managing to be stuffed full of all kinds of fun grains and also retaining a moist-ish texture (no dry alternative breads, excellent, excellent).
The one big flaw, however, was the fact that even though the asparagus had been liberally applied – I honestly think an entire bunch had been prepared for the plate – and although the tips were luscious and tender, the ends had clearly not been trimmed at all, because they were so darn tough that I could barely saw either knife or teeth through them. There really is nothing more hugely disappointing than woody asparagus, and it’s such a shame that one element can end up casting a pall over what was otherwise a delightful and very generously plated meal.
Muffin chose to have the 12 grain rice, which contained – take a deep breath – brown and white rice, quinoa, blackbeans, lentils, black eye beans, green and yellow peas, borlotti beans, sesame seeds, chia seeds and cannelini beans, served with fried eggs, seasonal pickles and miso sauce. While my inner pendant wants to rename this dish 12 grains and legumes, it did certainly look like an amazingly varied and hearty dish, with all the health of the grains cannily balanced out by the very breakfast addition of the fried egg. All the protein you’re gonna need for the day, clearly.
In other bits and bobs, my flat white was nice although I do recollect it was quite strong with a bit of a fierce back end. Beverages-wise, though, with the stinking hot weather when we visited I needed something cold and packed with ice cream, so I made sure to finish off with a long cold glass of iced chocolate. This turned out to be just the kind of decadent thing I required, with lots of thick, rich chocolate syrup and creamy vanilla goodness. Not the sort of thing to have if you’ve managed to be virtuous and partake of Le miel’s healthier brunch options, but it’s far too late now to pretend I’m in any way sensible when it comes to these things.
Despite the unfortunate woody asparagus, overall I was very pleased by my visit to Le miel et la lune. I don’t know yet if it will have the power to pip Cafe Lua as my favourite Carlton cafe haunt, but it certainly argued a persuasive case for further visits.
Le miel et la lune
330 Cardigan Street, Carlton