What is it?
F.A.T. stands for feta, avocado and tomato on toast, a thing of beauty firmly entrenched as the go-to cafe breakfast throughout the land, having successfully taken over where the egg-and-bacon roll left off.
Where is it?
The smashed avocado, feta and tomato on artisan bread is the biggest seller at Milk Cloud in Ashburton, while at The Pour Kids in Malvern, the bruschetta of smashed avocado with marinated feta, slow-roasted tomatoes and balsamic reduction is known as the Smash & Grab. At the new Petty Officer in Albert Park, the menu lists ''avocado smashed with Meredith feta, mint, radish and lemon on grain toast''. ''It's huge,'' co-owner Adam Mariani says. ''It's so rich in flavour, especially with the soft, creamy Meredith feta. Girls, in particular, love it.''
The F.A.T. is a mainstay of the post-surf menu at Byron Bay's buzzy Bayleaf cafe, where smashed avocado and feta are tossed with diced tomato and served with baby spinach. At new cafe The Counter in Petersham, Mariella Traina serves smashed avo on toast topped with Danish feta and two slow-poached eggs. In Bronte, chef Eugene Giesinger of Eugene's tosses chunks of avocado with crumbled Bulgarian feta, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, pepper and a squeeze of lime and serves them on hot, buttered eight-grain toast. ''It's not often you come across a dish that's just so popular'' he says. ''It's light, it tastes good, and people come back and have it every day''.
Why do I care?
Because it's fresh, rich, creamy, salty and lemony all at once. And because it goes well not just with poached eggs and toast for breakfast, but with prawns, grilled chicken, tabbouleh, salmon and grilled flat bread for lunch.
Can I do it at home?
So, so, easily. Look for ripe but still firm avocado and Bulgarian, Meredith or Yarra Valley feta; use plenty of lemon or lime juice; and don't mush it all up too much. It's good to still have itty bits of feta breaking up the rich creaminess of the avocado.
Petty Officer, 113 Victoria Avenue, Albert Park, (03) 9686 3000
Milk Cloud, 283 High Street, Ashburton, (03) 9885 1917
The Pour Kids, 1E Winter Street, Malvern, (03) 9077 3847
Eugene's, 69 Macpherson Street, Bronte, (02) 9369 1110
Bayleaf, 2 Marvell Street, Byron Bay, (02) 6685 8900
The Counter, 96 Audley Street, Petersham, (02) 9560 2949
Smashed avocado and feta on toast
1 ripe avocado, halved and stoned
1 tbsp dill, finely chopped
1 tbsp mint leaves, chopped
Sea salt and pepper
1 tbsp lime or lemon juice
100g feta cheese, crumbled
Half red onion, finely sliced
100g cherry tomatoes, halved
2 thick slices toast
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Extra dill or mint for serving
1. Roughly chop the avocado and place in a bowl with chopped dill, mint, sea salt, pepper and lime or lemon juice. Smash roughly with a fork, then lightly toss with most of the crumbled feta. Pile on to hot toast (buttered or brushed with extra-virgin olive oil), and scatter with remaining feta and extra dill or mint. Toss the cherry tomatoes and finely sliced onion with extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt and pepper and serve on top or alongside.