Hi, there! Welcome aboard! I am a microbiologist having an affair with words and genetically conditioned for cooking and globetrotting. Embark with me on a journey of good food and gorgeous locales.
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It is 1pm on a spring Sunday and Mikel Coffee is humming with activity like bees on fresh morning blooms. The coffee house is strategically located in the heart of Five Dock. And even though there are other cafes down the street, Mikel is full to the brim. The whole length of the cafe feels like a warm family dining space (check out the chairs to believe why I call it so) gleaming with natural light. An assortment of coffee gear, some bearing the brand name, make up for interior decoration and walls of glass stream in the street bustle, providing a constant source of motion picture.
There is an aura of quiet discipline in the operations of the cafe. It is fascinating to watch the formal humility the waiters exercise in attending to tables in this rather casual setting. Sophie, the manager, is busy behind the counter yet she never misses an opportunity to meet and greet her customers. She ushers us in with a welcoming smile and we are instantly taken with her warm personality.
In particular, three things about Mikel (well, there is no eponymous factor, instead the chain's name is its abbreviated motto "Maybe It's Knowledge Entering Life") are especially appealing: comfortable tub chairs, specially designed table mats (love these and super glad to see them as they are slowly going out of style in restaurants) and the bevy of hot & cold beverages on offer. The food selection has some Greek specials and the rest are usual cafe collection with a Greek touch. Inclusions range from pasta and burgers to salads and sandwiches. We order a Mocha (the hubby's go-to hot drink), Souvlaki,Salmon Galore and an Oreo cheesecake for dessert.
At $28, my Souvlaki is a hearty, toothsome meal. Two skewers of Greek-style marinated roast chicken (the options of lamb and pork are available too) crown a liberal serving of crispy chips, Greek salad, tzatziki dip and buttered pita bread. Together, they are a foodie's joy. Well-balanced and rightly proportioned, the dish is a blend of crunchy and fleshy textures - crisply roasted, juicy chicken, feta-rich salad, crunchy chips and a rich dip - called for contentment sans complain.
In comparison, a similar prize for the palate, the Salmon Galore is equally-priced but smaller in portion, yet a healthier option. With accompanying flavours of pan tossed mixed veggies, pea puree, grilled Asparagus, the crispy-skinned salmon fillet is sure to have its own fan-following. The hint of spinach vibrant oil and eggplant and zucchini in the veggie mix give it a nice Greek finesse. Full points for the galore!
If you belong to the mocha fan club, the Mikel mocha is sure to impress you. The sheer size of it is remarkable. Keeping up with the built, it nailed the taste factor too. A thumbs up to the muscular Mr. Mocha!
For my sweet tooth, I simply went with the Oreo cheesecake just by the looks of it though not undermining the fact that the cafe has a treasure trove of likewise eye-catching sweet somethings. A square of white chocolate and a circle of oreo topped the cylinder of creamy chocolaty cheesecake. To add to the joy, it is served with a drizzle of chocolate sauce and a dollop of whipped cream. Big smiley points to this one!
Ever since its preliminary flight in 2008, when Mikel first cropped up in Greece, its homeland, the coffee company (as these folks call themselves) has covered wider territories. And its Australian offshoot in Five Dock is going strong and green. With such charming service and the appealing number of drinks (count wine in too), it is sure to soar to an ever higher zenith.
(Getting there: Buses stop right next door and ample street parking is available for personal vehicles)