Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Sunday mornings ... exist? (aka. a visit to the Maling Room)

I can remember precisely one Sunday morning in the last year. It was the week after I stopped working Sundays. I got up at about 6am and thought "this is not how one should spend Sunday mornings," then went back to sleep, with the intention of not waking up until midday. 7am rolled around, so I shrugged and got up. Breakfast seemed like a novel idea, so I made myself a cappuccino and a bacon and egg sandwich, slipped on my slippers and started to read the pile of material set aside for an upcoming exam. The bacon and egg sandwich was so good, that I made two more before the morning was out. Why is there no bacongeek.com?

Other than that fateful day, Sunday mornings have either been a flurry to get to work or a respite from the serious work of the night before. So it was quite funny to actually meet up with Heidi for breakfast at The Maling Room.

As some, or perhaps both, of my readers are aware, I have more than a passing involvement with the Maling Room. Andrew employed me at his last cafe, Maltitude, which was a hub of coffee activity. When he started the Maling Room, not only was I invited along for the ride, but I was given the brief of researching our espresso machines. Andrew has always had multiple grinders to be able to run multiple blends and other coffees for our own experimentation, so he indulged us both in getting a Synesso Cyncra. Those who know him will tell you that Andrew is incredibly generous and it would be remiss of me not to mention his willingness over the years to fit in with my schedule, even though I was the employee. So it is with a heavy heart that I write that it has been a while since I last pulled shots on that Synesso, having been bogged down with uni, life and setting up a very different type of cafe.

In any case, today the mission was just to relax and enjoy a decent breakfast. The last thing that we wanted to do was to impose. We poked our noses through the door and saw the communal table surrounded by a group of people so large that they had obviously had to move in several other chairs, as if to outflank the kitchen. I suggested retreat, but noticed that every single person was eating, so we entered. It never ceases to amaze me what Andrew can do with a crappy double electric hotplate.

Breakfast is best summarised as follows:

The espresso was a bit of a disappointment, to tell you the truth. Not because it was bad, but because it was created with Atomica Dark instead of Andrew's own blend. Nonetheless, it was nice to see that the current formulation of Dark was rich and sweet, but low on ashiness. Eggs Benedict was quite a laugh; apparently it took me stopping working there for Andrew to start using the hollandaise recipe that I and several other of his customers had recommended ;P More to the point, pig, egg and bread were presented to me without my having to touch a frying pan. I guess I'm starting to appreciate the whole appeal of cafes from the customer's side! I always viewed them as excuses to play around with coffee. Speaking of which, Tzu-Yen evidently is of the same opinion and brought over the flat white pictured above to end the meal.

I'm going to miss being behind the counter at Maling Room, although from the looks of things, Andrew would have considerable difficulty shoving another body in there. Still, if it means enjoying it from the other side, in the company of good friends, perhaps it's not all bad.

The rest of the day was easily squandered on miscellaneous errands. Among these was a trip to visit Nick and Eric at La Bergerie, a cheese shop just down the road. This is an excellent way to circumvent Andrew's generosity; he has a much more difficult time refusing to accept interesting foodstuffs than cash. Also of some relevance to this blog was a quick trip to visit Toshi to pick up some Harrar Blue Horse. Oh, and to organise for him to review some top secret prototype tampers, but that's a matter best left for Andrew's Maling Rumors ...



At 4:07 PM, Blogger Michael said...

Miroslawa will be thrilled to hear about the hollandaise. This may actually get us to venture back for breakfast again (UHT hollandaise is an instant dismissal in our books) ;P

At 3:15 PM, Blogger Luca said...

Hehehehe ...

If Andrew doesn't already know you, make sure that you introduce yourself and I'm sure he'll make a point of treating you to whatever interesting coffee he has in.

Miroslawa should consider selling her baked goods to some of her favourite cafes; those pastries were excellent!



At 4:32 PM, Blogger David said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 4:35 PM, Blogger David said...

Yep I agree...I had an apple one...it was awesome. Nice meeting you Michael and Miroslawa.

Maybe I should get out more Luca, I still haven't been to TMR. :S

Maybe we can all hit it up together and introduce me :P


At 11:24 AM, Blogger Foris said...

Coffee quality is usually quite good here, but they really need to lift their game dramatically on the food and service. Eating there last Sunday was such a downer after Il Primo Posto at Southbank on Sat. They (MR) had run out of eggs, and several items on the menu were unavailable. The ordered smoked salmon salad was very sad and dreary - a few un-dressed salad leaves, a couple of cherry tomatoes, and a minimal serving of OK smoked salmon. Other dishes were no better. Service was catatonic, and requests were not delivered.


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