Karulo Cafe, Moonee Ponds

Cnr Darling St and Athol St, Moonee Ponds

P: 03 9326 2212

In a nutshell: Tucked away in a backstreet of Moonee Ponds, this converted milk bar is buzzing on most weekends, catering to people of all ages. The recently updated menu and their enthusiasm for coffee make this a brunch gem of the west.

We ate:

–       Omelette
–       Baked eggs

Coffee: Filtered coffee (La Linda, Columbia) and soy latte (Bathyspere blend, Thornbury)

Food: I love a twist on an old fave and Karulo’s interpretation of the Baked Eggs is exactly that. Rich and generous amounts of prosciutto line the small hot pan and a small amount of napoli sauce cushions the eggs. Basil is an interesting addition – something you don’t often see in baked eggs – but it works, contributing a freshness and a visual element. A sprinkling of dukkah on top is smart; I initially thought it to be pesto but alas. For cheese, they’ve gone for haloumi, which I usually adore. Unfortunately prosciutto plus haloumi, in this case, equalled a salt overload and had us reaching for water to quench our thirst. The crunchy ciabatta toast and butter was a great accompaniment, however we could have done with one or two more bits.

baked eggs

The omelette (wild mushroom and goat’s cheese) was subtle in comparison and a welcome relief once my wife and I swapped dishes. Less salty, the mushroom and goat’s cheese work a treat in tandem and the side of relish tops it off beautifully.

Coffee: Bathysphere blend from Thornbury-based roasters, Wide Open Road, is their house blend. Coffee is alternated regularly with guest roasters. I had the filtered coffee, which was La Linda from Columbia. Rich in colour with a pleasant, subtle nose, this coffee boasts deep fruity notes of strawberry and grape acidity not uncommon for beans of that altitude. Wife was suitably impressed with coffee art applied to soy latte – no mean feat on soy!

soy flat filter coffee

Price:  $37 (two pax).

Ambience: There are tables as you walk in, in the ‘milk bar’ section. They’ve done a great reno here but I would have liked to see them retain some of that rustic milk bar feel (if it wasn’t for the old ‘Herald Sun’ signs out the front, you wouldn’t know it was an old milk bar. We sat out the back were there are a number of tables. Was comfortable and atmosphere was buzzing once the crowd built.

Kid friendly: not a lot for kids to do but there were plenty of children about and all seemed happy and provided for. There are a number of options on the menu that are targeted specifically for children.

Service: waitress (who we presume was owner) who served us was great. Provided explanations of why items weren’t available with the reason usually related to them making more from scratch – they do care about quality here, which is good to see. They didn’t have single origin coffee because they were still roasting the beans… you can’t criticise that.

Verdict: 7.5/10

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