Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Carlton Paragon Cafe - The Great Muesli Hunt II

On my way home last night, still disgruntled at my lack of muesli that morning, I stopped on a whim to look at the The Paragon's menu, and lo and behold, I saw "Muesli (toasted)". I was ectastic. In the year or so I've been living around the area, I've always meant to visit The Paragon. Somewhat of an institution on Rathdowne Street, it is always packed with people, even on weekday mornings when I walk past. The lure of toasted muesli was definitely enough to convince me it was time to visit.

The next morning, the steady drizzle of rain didn't even make me think twice about my morning breakfast trip. Despite the drab weather, the place was half filled with young families, couples and early-morning bikers. I found myself a table in the corner, first ordering a soy latte, then the muesli. I was quite impressed that the waitress took the initiative to ask if I wanted soy milk with my muesli - it was probably quite an obvious thing to ask, but I was still touched that she did. Good service is getting harder to find these days. Bet the waitress at The Element wouldn't have bothered to ask. I was also impressed with the waiter who, though wasn't even serving me, came over to drop off some honey for me without even asking. I think perhaps he was intrigued by the fact that I was the only customer dining alone. The service, and coffee, was quick, friendly and served with a smile - both factors that earnt thumbs up in my book.

However, determined as I was to enjoy my toasted muesli, something wasn't quite right from the moment I took the first spoonful. It was good enough muesli, sure, stuff I actually liked. The problem was that it tasted exactly like (and probably was) stuff you buy at the supermarket. Now I'm all for supermarket muesli, especially since you can actually get a massive range of choices these days. My housemates could tell you that I could get through an entire pack of Lowan Swiss Muesli in less than a week (which is why I don't buy it anymore, because if it's not in the house, I won't eat it. Good preventative measure.). Perhaps I had high expectations since I was paying money to have it served to me, or perhaps I (mistakenly) thought everywhere that served muesli for breakfast should have homemade stuff. Whatever. Point is, it was good, but it just didn't satisfy. There was no satisfying extra-crunch from the muesli being crisped to perfection after toasting. Nothing against The Paragon itself, which is a lovely, cosy little cafe, close and homey enough that I'd happily visit again. Although, on my next visit, I probably won't order the muesli..

The Carlton Paragon Cafe
651 Rathdowne Street
Carlton North


Cindy said...

I'm always disappointed when I'm served supermarket muesli at a cafe, too. Have you tried Animal Orchestra (on Grattan St in Carlton)? I think it's a good spot for a lone weekday breakfast.

I'll keep an eye out for your other toasted muesli discoveries. :-)

Mel. said...

I've been meaning to try it! I may do one of these days - that is, of course, when I get over my still existent awkwardness of eating alone, especially when it's about 2 blocks away from my uni building!

Animal Orchestra always looks really great, though, and I've been thinking about trying the many variations of baked eggs that they have. One thing at a time (or maybe I should just bring a friend - best of both worlds!)

Truffle said...

Sorry to hear about your experience. I had a similar meal at the Paragon where the service was lovely and warm but the food came up a bit short. The staff were so lovely I didn't have the heart to say anything.

I also sympathise with your cereal habit. There are a few brands I can't keep in the house due to over eating!