From working in high end commercial kitchens, to now having set up a vintage café in Frankston, Trading Plates chats to Eeny Meeny’s Robbie Wright about all things retro food.
The concept for Eeny Meeny is simple- a cute vintage café that takes people back to their childhood. The vintage furniture, crockery, music and range of decorative nik naks are the sorts of things you would have seen in your grandparents’ house growing up.
Wright says that being a retro café he also often tries to cook retro food such as monte carlos, boeuf bourgignon or coconut ice cake, but always with a little gourmet twist.
“A while ago I was thinking about retro food and the humble chiko roll came to mind. I hadn’t eaten one for years so we ate heaps of chikos trying to figure out what the flavours were and how I could make it my way.
“After much experimenting, I came up with a mashed potato mix laced with a mild curry blend, allspice and mustard. I combined this with sautéed carrot and cabbage, wrapped it in a green onion crepe, crumbed it, then deep fried it and I felt I had a fairly deluxe version of a chiko roll.
“I then decided to use it as a breakfast special so I teamed it with a beautiful light sweet and sour tomato braise and crispy bacon. It is one of our most popular breakfast specials ever.”
Wright says that new menu items come about in many ways. Sometimes it can be based on popular ingredients or dishes that were popular at other illustrious places he has worked or sometimes ideas will come from discussions with foodie customers about ingredients they’ve found or recipes they love to make.
With over 20 years experience in commercial kitchens, Wright has worked with or for the likes of Stephanie Alexander, Nicky Reimer (Union Dining), Nat Paull (Beatrix), Elena Bonicci (Pizza Mein lLebe and UAE) and Melly Bielby (Spoonful).
“I’ve predominantly done high end café work and enjoy this style of cooking as it allows me to be adventurous in the kitchen and take my customers on the journey of food discovery with me,” says Wright.
At Eeny Meeny they try and source all of their produce locally, using small businesses wherever possible.
The most popular dish on the current menu (the menu changes every six months to ensure seasonal produce is showcased) is the “Persian Eggs” – scrambled free range eggs tossed with Persian fetta and wilted spinach on toasted ciabatta, sprinkled with Eeny Meeny’s home made dukkah.
While the organic primo coffee is the most popular drink (it’s organic, fair trade and rainforest alliance), people also really love the organic teas, supplied by Zee Tea.
While Wright doesn’t profess to be a great barista himself, he says it is crucial when making a good coffee to keep your machine clean and use fresh beans.
“Only grind what you need so you can get the maximum amount of oils out of the grounds and therefore, the maximum flavour,” advises Wright.
96 Young Street,
Frankston VIC 3199
(03) 8774 4236
Image source: http://www.urbanspoon.com/