The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry | A Sydney Food Blog

Breakfast degustation at Le Monde, Surry Hills

May 18th, 2010  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  14 Comments

If you want to max out on breakfast, this is the finest way to do it. Le Monde in Surry Hills has started serving a breakfast degustation.

For $25*, you get three inventive courses, two coffees (swappable for tea, if you’re not into ground beans), and multiple amounts of early-morning fun.

The fine print though – it’s only available Thursday to Saturday, for a minimum of two people. Will and I had no problem with these ground rules.*

The first course is Granola & Watermelon with Black Olive, Frozen Grapes, Vanilla Bean Yoghurt, & Baby Mint, and boy, is it a fine way to trick me into eating granola.

Usually I’d skip rolled oats for something less health-nut and more rebellious, but, in the way of degustations, this dish playfully overlaps textures and flavours to make each bite a multi-layered surprise: the gritty dried olive and granola with the smooth tang and cream of yogurt, the surprise drizzle of honey underneath the cool slice of watermelon.

The second course is a “Big Breakfast with a Twist”. For Will, this is a three-part special. There’s a bibimbap-inspired pot of chorizo, tomato, and coddled egg that you’re meant to mix up, Korean-style, to get the runny yolk through everything. There is also an eggshell hiding more egg, underneath a bouquet of baby basil. This is meant to be tipped onto the stack of toast, sundried tomato and mushroom pate.

I ask him what the aim is, of pouring all the ingredients over each other. “Besides funness?” says Will.

DIY joy aside, the lively crush and blend of flavours answers my question.

The vego option is spiced tomato with winter vegetables, and it feels like a comforting, cold-weather version of ratatouille. As flavoursome as it is, it just can’t quite match the science-lab interactive fun of Will’s breakfast.

With normal degustations, you get a sommelier offering matching wines, so I like how the breakfast equivalent is the barista coming over to talk about the coffee selection. In the spotlight is a Bolivian blend that ranked 8 in the Cup of Excellence. We’re told this brew is very light – almost to the point it’s like coffee that tastes like tea. Will thinks this is an on-the-mark description.

I like how the blend comes with a back-story, so you can read about the actual farmer who cultivates it.

The final course is Poached Pear with Crème Anglaise, Honeycomb, Coffee Soil, & Dill. The dill adds a strong undercurrent to the custard and pear, while the home-made honeycomb is a crackly delight, as is the coffee-doused biscuit crumbs. All the elements add these flavour-sparks and contrasts – it’s a lovely end-note, the only problem is that by now, I am too full to eat the whole thing (always a pitfall of degustations – but having an unfinishable amount of a good dish is not really that much a tragedy, is it?).

Le Monde’s degustation offering is spearheaded by chef Chris Merrick, who would have nailed his tasting-menu talents when working alongside Daniel Puskas at Oscillate Wildly. It seems that Le Monde is the only cafe in Sydney offering such a multi-course, fine-dining-level breakfast and in the first week, it seems to have hit the mark.

The cafe also has a standard breakfast menu, which definitely sounds enticing – Raspberry and Cinnamon Hotcakes with Maple Syrup, anyone? – but everyone should try the degustation at least once. For $25, it’s impressive value and it seems like (delicious?) irony that the greatest breakfast bargain around right now comes from a concept exported from high-end dining.

*Sadly, as of early 2011, the breakfast degustation is no longer on offer at Le Monde. It’s still a cafe worth visiting, though!

Le Monde, 83 Foveaux Street Surry Hills NSW (02) 9211 3568

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  1. sophie says:

    Amazing! Hope there’s space for a Suspicious Breakfast in our future…

  2. leetranlam says:

    That’s so funny, Sophie, I was just about to suggest that! Let’s talk about it next week. xo

  3. matching coffees is an awesome idea and i love the look of the big breakfast! for once i won’t get told off for playing with my food haha

  4. craven maven says:

    Oh wow! My tastebuds were dancing as I read this. Will’s dish made me (almost) wish I was still a meat eater..being encouraged to play with ones food? Thats a dream come true for me. I am going to look around NY to see if I find out about any interesting degustations going on.

  5. bowb says:

    aww. le monde! i used to have breakfast here all the time when i worked across the road in the mid-to-late 90s.

    except back then breakfast was takeaway turkish bread toast with half a stick of butter and about a cup of strawberry jam or honey somehow sandwiched into it.

    the bestest fuel for a day of laying out pop music magazines! 😉

  6. Such a great idea. I’m there!

  7. i’m drooling. i’ll be there this weekend!

  8. Betty says:

    this looks great i definitely want to check this place out

  9. Bex says:

    this looks like major nomage!

  10. Leroy says:

    Just went there after reading this blog.
    Amazing experience. The variety of flavors and the way the chef has combined them is to die for.
    I especially like the clover coffee and the way the barrista talks you through the coffee origin and flavors. Will definitely be going back there again and again….

  11. Forager says:

    I love the idea of a breakfast degustation! Who says brekkie should be light?

  12. Donna says:

    Called on Mon – was told to call back on Fri. Called on Fri was told they only could take a booking of 5 as max for the sitting. Since we were 6 it wouldn’t work and the food quality would suffer???

  13. leetranlam says:

    Thanks for all the lovely comments. Leroy, I’m glad you had a good and return-inspiring time. Donna, not sure what their reason would be, but Le Monde is a pretty squishy cafe, maybe they thought fixing together a table of six during a busy weekend would be too tricky, I don’t know … Hope you don’t have to play breakfast musical chairs & that all your dining mates get to enjoy the degustation.

  14. Little Chef says:

    Thanks for your pics and coverage of the brekkie! My friends and I are hoping to secure a table for 3 this Sat, if we get it, hurrah! & I hope the food will be similar to what you got coz it all looks really good and a good bargain even for $35!

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Hi, I'm Lee Tran Lam. When not blogging with my mouth full, I'm usually writing, presenting Local Fidelity on FBi radio, making zines, producing podcasts or continually breaking promises about how I really am gonna get through my book pile one day.

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This is a blog about eating and drinking in Sydney, Australia (with the odd cross-border or off-topic detour). BYO appetite.

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