Muffin Break – Coolalinga

There’s something about waking up and lazily drifting into a shopping mall and finding a cafe and ordering breakfast. Place an order, find a seat, pull out the smartphone or tablet and catch up on emails, work, or the news. That’s exactly how the weekend started recently when I visited Muffin Break, Coolalinga.

I appreciate a busy cafe. It shows me that I’ve more than likely made the right choice in attending. If it’s super busy, I don’t mind having to sit at a table cluttered with the plates, leftovers and crumbs of previous diners. What annoys me is when the wait staff cleaning the tables don’t want to annoy you and start clearing away dirties and cleaning down other recently vacated tables, and avoid cleaning your table.

Any attempt to remind the counter staff that you’re still sitting at a dirty cluttered table is responded to by them telling the wait staff to clear the tables, and…. you guessed it, the wait staff don’t want to annoy you and therefore your table remains dirty and cluttered until the meal arrives. On this visit the meal being a Spinach, Fetta and Sun-dried Tomato Muffin, and a small skinny flat white coffee.

With a name like ‘Muffin Break’ you think they would be able to make a pretty neat muffin, right? One that was actually made right there in the store and not shipped from some bakery elsewhere, right? Sure enough, the muffin was lovely and fresh. Certainly not light and fluffy like a good scone, but dense and heavy, yet not claggy or floury to the taste. I was concerned that there would be a skimping on the sun-dried tomato, but there seemed to be ample enough for the rich tomato taste to come through with every bite. The feta cheese was a light tasting but welcome addition, and the spinach….. ah well, there were some green flecks that must have been the spinach. It must be hard to cook spinach in hot baked food without it wilting up to near nothing. In this instance the spinach content was virtually non-existent, and cutting open the lightly warmed up muffin resembled nothing like the Muffin Break website image, or the claimed 27% spinach content.

I know savoury muffins don’t appeal to everyone, but if Muffin Break up the spinach content to what is advertised on their website, I would recommend this one to go on your ‘must try one day’ list. It’s worth it.

And the coffee… I have had a love-hate relationship with Muffin Break coffee for some years now. To put it simply, if I can I will try to avoid ordering coffee at Muffin Break. When it is made well, it is really, really, good. But it’s a gamble. As my theory goes, it is more a reflection on the barista, than the cafe. I generally find Muffin Break coffee to be no more than warm milk with a light taste of coffee somewhere in the background. And consistently so: here at home and also on my travels. Unfortunately, on this visit the coffee was as much as always. Weak and insipid. Having tried to explain my predicament to counter staff and to try and boost the taste of Muffin Break coffee, I have previously asked for ‘double shots’ and extra espresso; only to be charged an additional fee or to be stared at blankly, not understanding.

As my theory goes, if a cafe specialises in something – in this case muffins – don’t try ordering anything else. In my mind, a Muffin Break savoury muffin is a great way to start the day for brunch – but maybe with a pot of tea.

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