Review: Mammoth (Melbourne, VIC)

736 Malvern Road
Armadale VIC 3143
+61 3 9824 5239

As much as I like to hate on brunch, there are odd instances where I do actually say ‘yes’ to the odd brunch invitation. These include the following: when an interstate or overseas friend is in town for only 24 hours and brunch is the only time they are free, when I’m too lazy to drive and there’s no non-brunch venues open that particular Saturday morning (a ludicrous notion in Melbourne but all too real in Gold Coast) and when I see a brunch menu that’s actually super interesting enough for me to muster up some enthusiasm.

Mammoth in Armadale fits the latter category.

It also didn’t help that my friend Brandon was moving back to Malaysia and this Wednesday morning was actually the only time we were both free. To his credit though, he promised that I wouldn’t yawn when I saw Mammoth’s menu. ‘Apparently they do a lobster donut burger,’ he said. Well, dammit, I was SOLD.

Although it was a Wednesday morning, we were both surprised to see this café almost full. We were lucky to snag the last table but had we rocked up even five minutes later, we would have had to wait. We were informed that the famous lobster donut burger had sold out (nooooo), so we decided to peruse the menu for a bit while enjoying some coffee made with the Tightrope blend from Five Senses.

Latte ($4.20), macchiato ($3.50)
Latte ($4.20), macchiato ($3.50)

Brandon was right: Mammoth’s brunch menu had all sorts of unusual twists. Lobster donut burgers aside, there was also a cherry lamington puffed pancake and something called the North Shore (ham hock, pineapples and all sorts of other stuff that seemed more Hawaiian pizza than Mosman chic). You can also order poached eggs on toast if you want to stay on the conservative side, but that was seriously the most ‘normal’ thing on the menu. Much to my relief, you couldn’t get smashed avocados on toast here (and I’ll refrain from making a joke about house prices because I’m sure you’ll all sick of them). You can, however, order some avocado on the side for $4. Mind you, Mammoth’s sides menu offered cooler-sounding items such as egg and bacon popcorn or backyard fried haloumi with house-made HP sauce.

Brandon had the Mammoth version of the classic eggs benedict. It came with all sorts of things that you wouldn’t normally find in your eggs benny: duck sausage, orange and corn blini, pickled onion, fried egg and smoked maple Hollandaise. If you disregard the fact that my photo of this dish isn’t very good, the presentation was actually quite cool – and the overall dish was tasty to the last mouthful, too.

The Benedict ($21.50)
The Benedict ($21.50)

I had the char spanner crab egg crepe. On paper, this dish sounded like one of those annoying ‘Asian-inspired’ dishes that could go either way – thankfully, I gave it two thumbs up. The crepe was fluffy and light, with a generous amount of crab meat in it. Throw in some water chestnut pieces for a bit of texture and a bean shoot salad on the side ‘just because’ (though tbf, it was lovely). I wasn’t sure if the lemon sorbet added anything to the dish, though.

Char spanner crab egg crepe ($24)
Char spanner crab egg crepe ($24)

We shared the only dessert that was available on the menu that day, the Golden Gaytime panna cotta. I’m not usually one to order panna cotta at restaurants (it’s such an easy dish to make but restaurants serve it because of high profit margins) but in this case it was hard to say ‘no’ to the combination of honeycomb, sable biscuit and chocolate coated popping candy. A great dish to finish off on.

Golden Gaytime panna cotta ($15)
Golden Gaytime panna cotta ($15)

Mammoth changes their menu quite a bit so I’m not even sure you can get all of the above items if you were to go today. I do, however, know that you’ll be presented with a menu full of so many interesting and unique dishes that it’ll be hard for you to choose one. Unless, of course, the lobster donut burger is available and in which case you MUST order it and tell me what you think!

Mammoth Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Coin Laundry

61A Armadale Street
Armadale VIC 3143
+61 3 9500 1888

The best steak sandwich ever? Really? Quite a big call, I thought to myself as I read Michèle’s gushing review of the newly opened Coin Laundry cafe just a hop, skip and jump from Armadale station.

Adam and I figured that the cafe wouldn’t be terribly busy at 12pm on a Tuesday afternoon, so we lazily made our way there … only to find that it was packed to the rafters with soccer mums with massive turbo prams in tow, schoolkids from the nearby King David School taking a break from class and annoying Asian food bloggers with obtrusive Nikons and Canons (cough cough). We were told that there would be a 15 minute wait for a table which we were okay with. It gave us the chance to go for a walk and catch some much needed vitamin Ds from the sun. Before long, a corner table opened up and we plonked our tushes on the wooden seats.

As the name suggests and as you may have read from several blogs extolling the virtues of Coin Laundry, the cafe used to be a coin laundry. Then owners Steve Rowley and Matt Vero rocked up, ripped out the washing machines and installed a kitchen along with some tables & chairs and lovely ornaments all around the spaciously airy room.

They have specials listed on the giant toilet paper dispenser-looking hanger above one of the entrances, all of which sounded enticing but Adam was here for one thing: THE steak sandwich. As for me? I was, um, going to get a salad. Having said that, the (much longer) breakfast menu, which is available all day, did look amazing so I’ll be back to give the ricotta sweet corn fritters a go. And the caramelised French toast soldiers. And the house-toasted granola served with spiced berry compote and rosewater labneh. Oh, what I am saying? I’m going to keep coming back until I try every single thing on the damn menu!

We enjoyed some beautiful Allpress coffees while we waited for our food, a skinny latte for me and a short macchiato for Adam ($3.50 each). Neither of us normally put sugar in our coffees anyway but when Adam took a sip of my latte, he thought that I had perhaps snuck in a spoonful or two because it was so sweet. It was beautiful though, naturally sweet and smooth with a rather mild taste that was gentle to the palate.

Sugar, sugar; salt, Chris Scott.

Before long, we realised that our coffees had been drained, our Herald Suns read back to front (twice), our facebook pages checked five times on our mobiles and our water jug had been refilled twice. We had been waiting a very long time.

40 mins later (!!), our food arrived. While I’m aware that the cafe has been flat-out since it opened a month ago (not expecting such a positive response and therefore, being understaffed etc), I thought that an apology would not have hurt. But whatever, maybe a 40 minute wait for a steak sandwich is normal in this part of town. And maybe no one in the cafe really had to rush off to classes and meetings and what-have-you, but still. I wasn’t cranky for long though because, well, how could you not when you have food that looked THIS good…?

Adam’s steak sanga with aged Scotch fillet, onion marmalade, beetroot relish, roast tomato and horseradish cream ($18.50). No really, how could you stay mad? You. Just. Can’t.

Seriously, folks, have you seen a steak sandwich that looked like THAT? The loveliest, crunchiest and chewiest bread from Noisette, slabs of perfectly rare Scotch fillet slices, a handful of rocket leaves and a mixture of little extras that made the sandwich so effking awesome, including a beetroot relish that will make beetroot-haters like myself fall in love with that stuff. $18.50 sounds kinda excessive for a steak sandwich but it goes without saying, this was worth every cent.

In awe. Can’t talk.

My salad: warm chermoula spiced chicken with couscous, rosewater infused apricot and pine nut salad, coriander and tahini yoghurt ($17). I had no idea that I had ordered the exact same things as Michèle until I re-read her review tonight (oops), but I guess great minds order alike, eh? This what what half the soccer mums were ordering that day so I decided to follow suit (not because I want to be a soccer mum – okay, fine, I DO – but because it was perfect salad weather). It was an amazing salad which ticked all the right boxes: there was a good balance of textures ranging from the crunchy rocket leaves to the succulent chicken pieces to the smooth and creamy tahini yoghurt, a great combination of flavours from spicy to sweet to bitter and it was extremely filling. I loved how the rosewater and apricots just brought everything together too. Beautiful, just beautiful.

We really did not want to leave the cafe – we were just content to sit by the window and read the Herald Sun for the third time – but studying awaited us so off to Caulfield we went. While I’m no fan of Lisa Mitchell, I would like to say that if the girl that she was singing about in ‘Coin Laundry’ was hanging out at THIS particular coin laundry, then I would give away my Curb Your Enthusiasm DVDs to be that girl anytime.

Coin Laundry Cafe on Urbanspoon