Crabapple Kitchen, Hawthorn

In a recent edition of the (melbourne) magazine, I was reading an article on Greg Feck and his café/restaurant “Crabapple Kitchen” in Glenferrie Road. As I was salivating over a photo and recipe with brioche buns of pork and apple slaw, out of curiosity I Googled their website and saw that they were open for breakfast and took the opportunity to look over their Autumn menu.

Secretly hoping that the brioche buns were available, under the FoodandTravelCo’s selection of international breakfast dishes on the menu, I spied the exotic sounding baked eggs from Marrakesh. As I was about to head off to Morocco for a holiday, I was keen to try all things Moroccan.

By the time I arrived at Crabapple Kitchen mid-morning, there was a queue forming at the door to be seated. Trying to ignore the couple in front of me complaining about the ten minute wait, my eyes were absorbing the French provincial kitchen décor and chefs and baristas bustling around the front open bar area.

I was seated along the breakfast bar opposite the kitchen, with an array of candid photos of the San Pellegrino 50 Best Restaurant awards with snapshots of Heston Blumenthal and Greg’s partner, Kim and other gourmands occupying my attention.

Baked egg in a tagine of duck kofta with tomato, ras el hanout, toasted almonds and coriander served with Batbout (small Moroccan bread) - Crabapple Kitchen, Hawthorn
Baked egg in a tagine of duck kofta with tomato, ras el hanout, toasted almonds and coriander served with Batbout (small Moroccan bread) – Crabapple Kitchen, Hawthorn

I don’t normally order savoury for breakfast, but I was almost relieved to be eating something hot and spicy to beat the cold weather outside. Little did I know, just how hot and spicy. The Moroccan bread was light and delicious but there was only a small piece of it to counteract the chilli factor. A delicious mixture of baked tomato, spices and small meatballs of minced duck meat and egg, but the dish was extremely hot, both in temperature and overwhelmingly spicy. So much so that after a while, it was hard to distinguish what was being eaten and it was a struggle to continue eating after several mouthfuls. I could see the chilli in the mixture and almost wondered what I would be in for in Marrakesh!

The maître d could see that I wasn’t eating and when I explained about the heat factor, he asked if I would like a glass of milk to counteract the spice, but I politely declined thinking that all I wanted was more of that delicious bread to fill me up!

Crabapple Kitchen have an innovative menu and I had the privilege to indulge in one of their themed Friday Night Flight dinner evenings in May, so I have experienced their wonderful cuisine and their take on Moroccan traditional fare, however I think this dish was a rare misstep.

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