Many uni students will understand the despairs of finding good food, and good coffee, on campus. The irony of course is that studying minds need nourishing and copious amounts of caffeine. Instead, we are met with mass produced snacks and burnt coffee beans. However, those adventurous enough to meander past the boundaries of learning, especially at Melbourne University Parkville campus, may find themselves pleasantly surprised.
Le Miel et La Lune is only five minutes away from the university and is a great place to drop in on your way to class for your morning takeaway coffee hit, or sit down and have a meal if you have an hour or two to spare. It can be translated directly as Honey and the Moon. Once you know this, the gorgeous logo of a bear makes a little more sense. The cafe itself is small but the bustling atmosphere is testament to quality, despite not-so-student-friendly prices. Table and counter tops, along with the chairs, are all wooden and the fit out is clean and simple. I loved the plant-trimmed hangings, bringing a spot of nature to the city otherwise minimalistic fit out.
There were no tables when I arrived, so I drank my skinny cappuccino from a bar by the service counter: a great idea for a quick stop. The beans are from Proud Mary and the coffee smooth as silk. I was kindly informed when a table for two was ready and felt by the attentiveness and friendliness of all the staff.
The menu itself is interesting and yet simply presented. Lunch and breakfast tend to combine in an ‘available all day’ fare. The menu has a surprising Asian twist. The osso bucco is described as a “Korean ragu” and pickled daikon, or tofu and miso sauce pop up in otherwise western dishes. Never fear. You’ll also find classics like poached eggs or French toast.
I opted for the Yuzu chicken salad and was served a tangy, crunchy salad atop pieces of crispy, marinated chicken. The flavours were undoubtedly Asian, with strips of cucumber and bean sprouts combined in a tangy, citrus dressing. I tasted the orange before I saw the shredded pieces and the end result was fresh and punchy.
“I really regret having a breakfast dish for lunch,” said no one ever. So my partner decided to give in to her sweet cravings and ordered the fruit bread with honey ricotta. Despite the slices being small, the bread was dense and studded with dried apricots, dates and raisins. The presentation was immaculate. The bread was served on a wooden board with a fresh, golden dollop of ricotta coated in honey. The simplicity is ingenious and sometimes the my desire to try the most interesting, complex or signature dish on the menu means I forget about that the classics are so for a reason.
If you do want to go for complex, I would suggest the pork belly. It comes served with potato hash, three types of mushrooms, a wasabi dressing, a poached egg and is served pile high on the plate. It is something to behold, and eating with my eyes, I got a bit of food envy.
Unfortunately, the price holds me back from frequenting regularly. It is, however, great for a catch-up with an old friend that you haven’t seen in a while or other small special occasions. The coffee is great, the food is delicious, the space is light thanks to a huge window and the atmosphere is welcoming. I would recommend as a treat to yourself if you were in the area.
Le Miel et La Lune
330 Cardigan St
(03) 9043 9767