Unlike some celebrity chefs, The Moody Chef is not moody in his demeanour at all. The Moody here is actually the surname of one of the owners/chefs and he, with his team, deliver breakfast and lunch to the table with Mediterranean twists amongst other global flavours.
This licensed a-la-carte eatery in St Leonards has a main dining room inside with various styles of seating, alfresco dining outside and a private function room. It's been serving office workers and residents alike for the last 12 years or so in its cosy atmosphere with an abundance of hanging greenery and colourful artwork.
It was for breakfast on a Saturday that a friend and I arrived. Despite it being busy already with several tables occupied, we were greeted and guided immediately to our seats by friendly waiter Jordan.
Menus and specials were presented to us and our orders taken in a timely manner. We chose three main dishes to share, two of which were savoury and one sweet sensation.
The first item we tried was new on the menu – Kipfler Potato & Confit Bacon Hash with Poached Egg. Served with baby cress, onion apple jam and char-grilled organic sourdough, it was a delight. The egg was perfectly cooked and the onion-apple jam was a tasty winner, along with the potatoes and bacon pieces.
Next up was the Miso Roasted Pumpkin, Cashew & Spinach 'Ricotta' Bruschetta – a vegan dish. Also adorning the plate was hazelnut dukkah, pickled beetroot and a baby greens salad. Quite colourful and healthy, the flavours went well together and it wasn't long before it disappeared off our plates.
Following this, it was time for the piece de resistance. Both of us have a sweet tooth and the Strawberry & Rhubarb Pancakes with Pistachio Crumble satisfied it. Mascarpone, organic Goji berry and pure Canadian maple syrup added to the wonderful encounter that saw our plates emptied faster than our last dishes. Picking a standout amongst standouts, the rhubarb was it. Beautifully cooked, the way my mother used to make it, bringing back childhood memories.
Other items on the breakfast menu include Sweet Corn & Haloumi Fritters, House Granola & Coconut Milk Yoghurt with fruit, a Persian Fetta Omelette and a Moroccan Lamb dish with Shakshuka Baked Eggs.
If you're visiting for lunch you'll find a daily soup, a Garlic Prawn Spaghetti Puttanesca special on weekdays, salad bowls, grilled salmon, panko-crumbed veal, and gourmet burgers, such as the Korean chilli fried chicken burger I had below on a previous visit.
Amongst all of our food, we consumed a couple of drinks each. Some cold-pressed juices to start with packed a punch of vitamin C and hydration. The Tropicool consisted of pineapple, apple, mint and lemon whilst the Sweet Cheeks contained watermelon, apple, cucumber, lime and raspberry. These were followed later with an iced chocolate and another fruity juice. All were decidedly delicious.
Other refreshments include smoothies, milkshakes, soft drinks, coffee and organic tea. Alcohol-wise, there's beer, cider and wines to choose from.
Prices for breakfast and lunch are around the $14-24 mark with sides from $3 and beverages from $4.
The Moody Chef also has a coffee and muffin/cake counter for takeaways and shelves of products, with some of their own branded items, that include olives, condiments and a fashionable series of ceramic latte cups with lids for purchase.
Catering for morning and afternoon teas as well as delivery of lunches for groups is a big part of their business too. They can provide everything from birthday cake and balloon boxes to muffin boxes and savoury boxes for office meetings, conferences and parties.
All in all, The Moody Chef ticks all the boxes with sensational service and food at the top. It's a great place for socialising, whether it's a catch-up with friends, an office lunch or a private celebration. Open Mon-Sat, it's also conveniently located within walking distance to buses and St Leonards train station. Some street parking is available in addition to parking stations.