I’m in the throes of designing my apartment balcony area and have my heart set on recreating the beautiful Moroccan simplicity and elegance that I was able to enjoy in some of the riads that I stayed at last year. Bargaining in souks is definitely not my thing, but I am starting to wish that I had taken the time to scrounge around for an ornate metal lantern or two as reminders of my time there. Surfing on the web for inspiration and ideas, I found that “Red Ramia Trading” in Myrtleford stocked various treasures from North Africa and the Orient, including my desired Moroccan lanterns. Trinkets weren’t the only things I found on the website – I was intrigued when I saw a link for their onsite eatery “Café Fez”. After I had looked at their breakfast menu, I began to make plans to go there when I next travelled home to Wodonga to see my parents over the Melbourne Cup long weekend.
The weather in North-East Victoria during November is usually glorious – blue skies, sunshine and temperatures escalating during the day. I was somewhat disappointed by the heavy rain and freezing winds that greeted me when I woke up on Saturday morning but I was resolute in taking the forty-five minute drive to Myrtleford to have breakfast at Café Fez. I told my family that there was probably better weather in that part of State in an effort to entice them to come with me!
The rain followed us all the way to Myrtleford, so my parents and I literally ran into Café Fez and found a corner table near the heater to dry off and keep warm. The interior of the main dining area has a collection of mosaic tables, old timber doors, lights and lanterns which makes you feel like you’ve escaped to a scene straight from Arabian Nights.
The all day breakfast menu has only seven key dishes, but each description is full of exotic sounding ingredients and references to the Middle East and the Mediterranean. The “Café Fez Big Breakfast” with Turkish eggs, sweet potato falafel, lamb kibbeh, grilled haloumi, garlic and herb mushrooms, bacon steak with Milawa corn bread for $25 seemed to be the best bang for our buck and a perfect brunch option for a cold day.
Shortly thereafter our breakfast arrived on large rectangle white platters laden with delicious food and accompanying condiments on ceramic spoons. Breakfast was indeed big – not just in size but also on flavour. The lamb kibbeh, a traditional Lebanese recipe, was made with ground beef from the region and a layer of lean lamb mince in the centre. Large pine nuts were generously mixed within the kibbeh. If it wasn’t such a cold day, you could be forgiven for thinking that the white pine nuts in the brown meat were somewhat of a suspicious nature, but the kibbeh was delicious and paired with the homemade tomato chutney.
The large Turkish eggs were soft poached and sprinkled with ground cumin. The haloumi was crispy on the outside but soft to taste on the inside. It was so yummy that I happily traded half of my serving of mushrooms for another piece of cheese. The bacon steak (or kaiserfleisch) was extremely moist and tender and thickly cut and so I exchanged the other half of my mushrooms for a little bit more.
The sweet potato falafel was also a surprise hit – soft textured and flavoured with spice, it was hard to decide whether to add the yoghurt dressing or enjoy the large patty on its own.
No sooner had we finished breakfast, the sun and blue skies decided to make their welcome appearance. Perfect for exploring the hidden treasures within Red Ramia.