Hidden behind a hotel and next to another hotel in Acton, Canberra is Močan & Green Grout, a small but lively café that thankfully shares little in common with the fare of its neighbours.
This cafe, which was already bustling when I arrived a little after 7am, was on this occasion filled with a combination of joggers, business people, and people like me who were attending the conference at the nearby hotel. I looked around in my half-asleep state and made for one of the vacant tables near the wall.
On opening the coffee menu I was greeted with the usual suspects including regular and large sizes, and choices of an extra shot or soy. There was also a selection of teas, juices and soft drinks, but given the hour of day, I ordered a large latte.
Large Latte ($4.00)
When it arrived, it was nice to see the latte art, but I was a little disheartened to see it in a cappuccino mug instead of the expected tall mug or glass. It’s a small thing, I know, but I did find my Melbournian soul a little irked by it. Although despite this niggling mug choice, the coffee was smooth and flavourful with just a hint of bitterness. With the caffeine beginning to kick in, I picked up the breakfast menu.
The wait staff were patient as I read and re-read the menu before finally deciding on the dish that called itself the Savoury Avocado Granola. How did I choose this over everything else on the menu? I’ll admit, I chose it mostly out of a real curiosity of what it would taste like. It was a gamble of course, and I wondered if my random methodology might result in something less than satisfactory, but thankfully, when I mentioned it to the wait staff they seemed very pleased with my choice; although that could have just been because I had finally chose something.
Savoury Avocado Granola ($14.00)
When I first looked at it, I was a little confused. There was bread, greens, half an avocado, a red flower, and spread throughout, granola coated in a layer of red spice. After carefully putting aside the flower I made a start, still cautious and wondering if I was eating it right. Was I supposed to eat the flower? Were the greens were just ornamental? I let go of my fears and combined the granola, avocado, and bread onto the fork and took a bite.
It could have been the hour of the day, it could have been the coffee, it could have even been the atmosphere, but either way, the flavour was something quite incredible. It was unorthodox certainly, and spicy enough to rival a solid Mexican dish, but really amazing all the same. This was so much so that I wound up finishing it at a speed I was worried would lead to indigestion. But to hell with the consequences, it was worth it.
There is also a lot to like about the look of Močan & Green Grout. Like many Canberra venues, the café faces the challenge of trying to appear old and rustic while at the same time being located at the bottom of a newish residential and hotel area. It cleverly takes on this task by using a combination of a wood-lined interior, plants on the counters, and surfaces covered in gold-coloured polished metal, to make you really feel like you’ve stepped away from your surroundings and into somewhere entirely new.
Overall, despite feeling the sting from with my latte mug pedantry, Močan & Green Grout’s location, atmosphere, and of course it’s food, make for a really great and unique café experience. If you’re staying at one of the many hotels in the area, I recommend skipping your hotel’s breakfast and coming here. It will most certainly be a more interesting option.
Močan & Green Grout
1/19 Marcus Clarke Street
New Acton South
Australian Capital Territory 2601
Mon: 7:00am to 4:00pm
Tue – Sat: 7:00am to 9:00pm
Sun: 8:00am to 4:00pm