26 May El Mirage, Brunswick East
No, you’re not imaging things. There is a cafe here. El Mirage is a little hidden away, being set back a far distance from the street. After walking past the small outdoor seating area, you’re greeted by a quaint interior with a curved wooden ceiling, school chairs and a banquette that spans the length of the cafe.
The cafe has been here for 10 years, and current owner Wasim has owned it for 6. The menu has a range of dishes, including sandwiches, and sweets are supplied by Little Bertha. There’s a spicy and flavoursome Grain Salad of spinach, corn, coriander, avocado, pickled shallots, poached egg, and lime, with a South American inspired dressing. Pan-roasted Salmon comes with pickled beetroot, shaved fennel, orange, sorrel, chard and pearl cous cous dressed with red wine vinaigrette. The beetroot sorbet, full of smokiness, is a highlight, and as a whole, the dish has plenty of bright flavours to enjoy.
Smashed Peas are piled on top of chunky seeded grain toast, with hot smoked salmon, poached eggs and an apple and fennel salad. Propped-up, crispy shards of seaweed are visually striking, and there’s a generous amount of salmon to tuck into.
Savoury waffles always get me excited. At El Mirage they feature in the Avocado Whip. The wholemeal waffles are a tad dry, but there are seeds in the batter, giving them a interesting texture. They come with goats cheese croquettes, which have a thin crispy coating, and light and airy insides that aren’t too strong on the usual potent goats cheese flavour. Blobs of smooth and citrusy avocado puree are dotted around the plate, introducing fresh flavours alongside the pickled shallots and sorrel leaf salad.
El Mirage serves some pretty creative dishes in a space that exudes an old-school charm.
Disclaimer: I was invited to El Mirage as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own, and are based on my experience at the time
349 Lygon St
Brunswick East, VIC, 3057
(03) 9388 0966