736 Malvern Rd,
Mon – Fri: 7:30am – 4:30pm
Sat – Sun: 8am – 4:30pm
Coffee: Five Senses Coffee
“Mammoth is a mouthful. It has connotations of a big, large, stomping and unmovable force. It’s a mammal that would have been an admire to watch – from a safe distance – as it ruled the roost of its world. And, it’s the perfect description of the juggernaut café in Armadale – Mammoth. Opening its doors last September, the experienced team comprised of husband-and-wife Loren and Jamie McBride from Barry, Touchwood and Pillar of Salt have created another impeccable cafe.
Before its official opening, there was a lot of excitement and buzz around the next creation from this duo. For anyone even with a mild interest in Melbourne’s food scene, it would have been hard not to have notice the build-up. Four months into the project and there is still something special about this place. There is a sense of ambition to be the best brunch place in Melbourne, and yet any pretentiousness is left at the door.
Taking over a heritage-listed corner space on Malvern Road, the decor is cosy and warm with soft polished wooden fixtures and furniture throughout the two room space. The exposed brickwork is painted in fresh white, with sitting options for groups and couples. A ‘whole-in-the-wall’ connects the kitchen and the dining space, with an immediate presence as you first walk in. The pastel colours expose a soothing and relaxed space that marries well with its suburban location. That’s not to say the ball has been dropped, there is focus on what matters most; a cool-calm front house with serious about food and coffee.
Coffee is provided by Five Senses and JoJo and I started with a Cold Brew [$4] and an Almond Milk Latte [$4.50]. A cold brew is always refreshing on a summer’s day and this blend had strong smoky notes to it. It was exceptionally smooth and was the ideal serving size; the ideal coffee quencher. JoJo had the almond milk latte and noted the coffee was on point.
If there is one thing that Mammoth will be known for, it has to be the food. Recruiting ex-Hammer & Tong chef, Emma Jeffrey, the menu offerings are leaps and bounds in front of what other brunch hotspots are offering. Each dish seemed to be presented with significant detail and to a high quality, not to mention plating with a strong artistic flare. There are daring offerings on the menu like the Lobster Donut Burger [$24.50] and more refreshing options that include the Smoked Chicken Salad [$21] and Rainbow Salad [$17.50].
Tough decisions had to be made, and I elected the North Shore – smokey ham hock hash, flame grilled pineapple, tobasco, jalapeno pepper, poached egg [$20] and JoJo went for the cooling Grilled lychee and passionfruit chia pudding, macadamia, hemp seed crumble, blood orange GF, V [$14.50].
A ham hock hash is typically done in a rustic manner with the usual combination of the potato and ham –even cabbage – being tossed together and topped with poached eggs; or, to spice things up, fried into a patty-like shape. Its comfort food for people who struggle to cook. Yet, this dish flips this notion on its head with its perfectly shaped cylinder hash that was lightly fried and plated on different angles. The tiny pieces of ham were fragrant, moist and with subtle hints of smokiness. Combined with the potato mixture created a soft and silky taste; and I found this complemented the crusted jalapeno peppers and the flamed grilled pineapple.
The best part of the pineapple was the glazed sugar top. Similar to the crust of a crème brulee, the pineapple was thick, juicy and fresh as it cancelled out the heat from the jalapeno pepper. The poached eggs were perfect in shape and tied the dish together nicely.
JoJo’s dish was summery and vibrant, offering a wealth of summer fruits that looked refreshing and was beautifully styled. She mentioned that the dish had a lovely cooling element that had the right portioning and was equally filling. The multi-dimensional flavours – being the pudding, fruits and nuts – made for a perfect summer dish when warm food just won’t do.
Mammoth is the shining star of the Armadale brunch scene. But more importantly, it’s the perfect space for the team to provide exceptional food and service on their terms. It is the right size to offer exceptional and distinctive brunch dishes that couldn’t be done if it was twice the size. And it’s this point that makes Mammoth special and worth the visit.”
Final Thought: “In a class of its own”