Magic Mountain Saloon

Kylie Northover
Black sticky rice with strawberries, banana, coconut cream and dried mango.
Black sticky rice with strawberries, banana, coconut cream and dried mango. Photo: Pat Scala

62 Little Collins Street Melbourne, Victoria 3000

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Opening hours Mon-Fri 7am-3am; Sat-Sun 8am-3am (kitchen closes at midnight Sun-Thu; 1am Fri-Sat)
Features Accepts bookings, Bar, Breakfast-brunch, Gluten-free options, Late night, Licensed
Prices Moderate (mains $20-$40)
Chef Karen Batson, Suchat Songkramchai
Payments Diner's Club, eftpos, AMEX, Visa, Mastercard
Phone 03 9078 0078

Swanston Street's Cookie has been at the forefront of modern Thai cuisine for more than a decade and now head chef Karen Batson has created another, equally audacious, menu for Cookie owner Camillo Ippoliti's​ latest venture, Magic Mountain Saloon.

From 7am (8am on weekends) til late at night, Batson is turning out a new line-up of her takes on Thai classics, with a  breakfast menu she concedes is "out there". As before, she's mashing up Anglo and Thai influences, but just because it's brekkie, don't expect subdued flavours; there's no dumbing down here, even at 8am.

The Magic Mountain breakfast ranges across sweet (and somewhat safe) dishes like soy milk coconut pikelets with papaya ($14.50) and black sticky rice with strawberries, banana, coconut cream and dried mango granola ($14.50), and traditional stuffed omelettes (sardines, tomato and chilli and chicken, corn and mushroom, both $16.50) and soups and congees (coddled egg and chicken ball, $14.50; snapper and morning glory rice soup, $16.50) to the more intrepid choices.

Fresh flavours: Magic Mountain Saloon in Melbourne.
Fresh flavours: Magic Mountain Saloon in Melbourne. Photo: Pat Scala

There's Thai-style baked eggs with pork belly, smoked eggplant, tomato and chili and basil ($17.50), a sticky lamb and shrimp rice with green apple, omelette, coriander, ginger and chili ($16.50) and the insane/amazing chicken and kaffir lime crispy-shelled scotched egg served with pork ribs and tamarind ($18.50). 

"That one's a bit tongue-in-cheek; it's a combination of English roots mixed with the idea of Thai son-in-law egg, which is boiled then deep-fried with tamarind sauce," says Batson, adding that it's a winner for its novelty factor.

But the most popular brekkies so far are her congees, served with all the condiments. Alongside your bowl of steaming congee, you're given a tray of "extras" like pickled cabbage, coriander, ginger and fresh chillis. "You can add to it as you like and it's kind of awesome," says Batson.

Chicken and kaffir lime scotched egg, pork ribs and tamarind.
Chicken and kaffir lime scotched egg, pork ribs and tamarind. Photo: Pat Scala

"People are also raving about the scrambled eggs [served with ocean trout and ginger, $19.50] and the banana roti bread [with almond butter, grilled banana and condensed milk, $14.50]. I've had a lot of people who have said 'Thank God. I'm so over bacon and eggs'."

As well as a range of teas – or coffee – breakfast comes with its own 'morning sunshine' cocktail menu, boasting concoctions like the floral-infused Spearhead –  Absolut pear, St Germain elderflower liqueur and pear nectar topped with champagne ($17) – and the Orange Koi, as close to a an alcoholic health drink as you're going to get, with gin, vermouth, carrot juice and lime juice ($17). There's also a booze-free drink list with intriguingly named mocktails like Trendy Slacks (chrysanthemum syrup and lemon juice topped with coconut water, $6) and the Cuban Creaming Soda made with vanilla cream syrup, lime juice and fresh mint topped with soda ($6).

It's a menu – and drinks list – that caters for punters coming from all-night venue Boney next door as well as those who have actually been to bed.

"There are a few people doing Asian breakfasts, but not many," says Batson. "It just jumped out for me. Breakfast is one of my favourite things when I'm in Thailand and I also love that they don't really have any boundaries there – breakfast flows into lunch." 

Which sounds like an excellent suggestion.

http://magicmountainsaloon.com.au/