"The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity" - Dorothy Parker
Published September 9th 2018
All aboard for the Healesville espresso
I once bought a companion set for $8 from an op shop in Healesville. My OH and I had been scouring antique shops and hardware stores for months and had given up looking by the time we stumbled across our fireside bargain...not literally, although it was on the pavement in the "broken, rejected and headed for landfill" bin. The set was missing its dustpan but it didn't matter: it was practically perfect in every other way. We'd just had an enjoyable lunch at Mocha & Lime cafe, another chance find, and were feeling good about the town.
Healesville, whose prosperity grew courtesy of its railway and the Gippsland goldrush, continues to flourish today, thanks mostly to its proximity to all the leisure opportunities the Yarra Valley and Yarra Ranges areas have to offer. Healesville is a destination in itself, with the volunteer-operated Yarra Valley Railway and the RACV Country Club based in the town and Healesville Sanctuary close by.
I hadn't been back to Mocha & Lime since my fireside find but it was the first place to spring to mind when, not long ago, a visiting friend and I found ourselves in Healesville one weekday lunchtime.
Mocha & Lime is located fairly centrally, just off the Maroondah Highway. A family-owned cafe, Mocha & Lime has been up and running for eight years, quietly acquiring a local, loyal following in that time. It would be easy to mistake the cafe for a wine bar: it neighbours a Cellar Door-cum-bistro business and its name sounds a bit like a Costa Rican cocktail. I'm also not sure about the old sofa by the cafe's entrance. To my mind, Indoor Pre-Loved Sofa equals quintessential retro cool; Outdoor Pre-Loved Sofa equates to decidedly daggy with a daring dash of doss-house.
In fairness, it's obvious from the moment you set foot inside that the cafe isn't trying to be hip. It knows its market and if comments on its Facebook site are anything to go by, it has realised its goal of providing a homely, accommodating, welcoming environment for its customers.
Visually, it's a busy space: it's hard to miss the wall of books and shelving at one end of the cafe and huge chalkboard menu to one side when you enter. The board menu is tweaked with the season so never gets boring, and the "street food" and burger specials change weekly. The chalkboard serves as a giant breakfast/lunch menu for all diners and demands careful reading, so my friend and I plumped for a table nearby. Many of the dishes piqued my interest, though I'd had a sizeable breakfast so only wanted a coffee. My fitness-fiend of a friend, however, was horse-hungry: he never eats before noon and then spends the afternoon devouring food like there's no tomorrow.
In my book, any eating establishment serving up Buxton (Victoria, not Derbyshire) Smoked Trout and including Maldon (Essex, not Victoria) Sea Salt in its dishes has to be taking the business of food seriously. It's also heartening to come across a cafe which goes to some trouble to create appetising food for a range of dietary needs. I'm not a vegetarian but that doesn't mean I don't like to eat interesting vegetarian food.
I liked the sound of the cafe's Spiced Brekkie Bowl (pumpkin hummus, sauteed spinach, sumac grilled cauliflower, pickled cabbage, poached eggs and savoury breakfast granola), which is both gluten- and dairy-free. I also found myself tempted by the Okonomiyaki (Japanese savoury pancake, with marinated tofu, vegan mayo and sriracha and herb salad). I might have been tempted by the home-made trout pate (pescatarian, admittedly), but it had sold out.
Skinny, flat white made with Five Senses' Dark Horse blend
My "Dark Horse" house-blend coffee was superb - smooth, fruity and with no trace of bitterness. A regular, skinny, flat-white gal, I take my coffee hot. Hot it was, and without my having to ask. My friend's freshly-squeezed orange juice was "superb" and I'd be surprised if he even had time to taste his Smashed Avo and Eggs, he wolfed them down that fast.
Service was attentive and friendly and the desserts on display looked a treat. I made a mental note to sample one next time. Since my August visit, Spring is sprung and the menu's amended. Time to get back to Mocha & Lime on Green Street, and check out that new blackboard.