A healthy (or not so healthy) dose of beta glucan

September 25, 2011 at 9:13 pm (Uncategorized)

You only have to look at the menu at any decent café to know that the days of tasteless, stodgy oatmeal porridge are well and truly behind us.  With so many cafés offering delectable variations of your everyday muesli and porridge, there is no reason why we can’t all load up on and subsequently enjoy the many health benefits of this supergrain.

Ok, maybe that’s a bit of an overstatement of the potential health benefits when we’re suddenly able to use the word “indulgent” to describe breakfast cereals.  Nonetheless, I’m all for having a delicious breakfast that doesn’t leave me feeling as guilty as if I’d just polished off a brick-sized piece of fried brioche.

First up, bircher muesli.  Something really simple and truly healthy when I make it at home.  The best birchers I’ve had in Melbourne on the other hand, are decadent to the point of being dessert-like.  At the top of the list is Kitchen Kultcha’s pear and rosewater bircher muesli; not too sweet with a lovely, subtle hint of rosewater, muesli generously bulked up with shredded coconut and dried apple pieces, topped off with soft poached pear.  Quite textural compared with other birchers – the oats are mixed with a hot butter, apple juice and sugar concoction and toasted for four and a half hours before soaking.  The only thing mine was missing was a good dollop of the home made yoghurt that I’d heard so much about.

Kitchen Kultcha, 43 Glenlyon Rd Brunswick

Kitchen Kultcha

Pear and rosewater bircher muesli, Kitchen Kultcha

Next is St Ali’s ‘keep me regular’; packed full of fruit with cranberries, dates, apple and fresh strawberries, topped with passionfruit coulis and thick, creamy labna.  The result of all those fruit sugars is that you’re left buzzing with energy for the next couple of hours 😀

'keep me regular', St Ali

Freestyle Espresso’s bircher warrants a mention for its incredibly creamy texture, generous topping of toasted almond flakes and sweet passionfruit curd.  And for those of you with a really sweet tooth, go for The Hardware Societe’s version, served with roasted macadamias and berry syrup.  However, it is possible to have too much of a good thing.  Red Star’s bircher is sweet to the point of being unpalatable.

Bircher, Freestyle Espresso

Bircher, The Hardware Societe

Top pick for muesli is Auction Rooms honey toasted muesli with labna and macadamia praline; deliciously sweet and crunchy, loaded with dried fruit and nuts and even more delicious served with bonsoy.  If you’re looking for a gluten-free option, Seven Seeds and De Clieu offer an interesting puffed rice and buckwheat muesli, with whole roasted almonds, yoghurt and tangy rhubarb compote.

Honey toasted muesli, Auction Rooms

Puffed rice and buckwheat muesli, Seven Seeds

Granola fans must try Chez Dre’s house-made granola that resembles a dessert crumble more than anything else.  A generous dollop of light yoghurt foam provides a delicious contrast.  Slightly less indulgent but no less yummy is Cumulus Inc’s toasted honey granola, served with yoghurt and poached fruit so brilliantly colourful it resembles confectionery.

House-made granola, Chez Dre

Honey toasted granola, Cumulus Inc

And finally, to porridge- that, which is so easy to get wrong, but can be so delicious when cooked with some care and attention.  Sister S has a famous dislike of porridge but I’m certain she will be converted by Pope Joan’s offering of creamy goodness, served with spiced apples and honey.  As the weather gets warmer, it’s a good idea to make a trip to St Ali for their ‘love from babushka’ before it’s taken off the menu.  The slow cooked large oat porridge with quince, vanilla bean yoghurt, panela cane sugar and mint is well worth the price.  If you’re lucky, you may find yourself at Manchester Press on a day when they are serving their cinnamon-infused porridge with poached pear and cranberries.  If not, you’ll still be able to enjoy 8oz coffee (funky coffee art included), delicious bagels and some interesting artwork.

Porridge with spiced apple and honey, Pope Joan

'love from babushka', St Ali

Cinnamon infused porridge with pear and cranberries, Manchester Press



  1. Amanda Soedharma said,

    Hi, love your review of all things oats, they all looks so good!
    you should try muesli from the deli on brunswick st, i think the place called brunswick st alimentari, they served the muesli with a cute pot of milk, and poached pears. yum!

    • jok3r133 said,

      Thanks for the feedback and the tip 😀 Will definitely check it out.

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