Today I decided I would try something a little different here. I had a craving for a chocolate brownie but couldn’t think of what to do with a whole tray so I thought I would pay a visit to Moemas to pick one up and then because my trip coincided with the lunch hour I thought I would get that too and tell y’ll all about it. Moemas is a cafe that makes salads and sandwiches for lunch and has various patisserie things. It also does breakfast but I can’t tell you anything about that as I’ve never been there then. It opened in 2007 (I think), whilst I was still away, and everyone talked about it incessantly. For a while I went there a lot but of late I haven’t been near them at all. My main gripe with the place is that in the time I’ve known them, the menu has hardly changed. They don’t seem to do seasonal dishes and their pastries are the same ones that were there when I first went in 2008. Innovation? New products? New recipes? I usually find none of that at Moemas.
Today I was a little more fortunate. There was an aubergine salad with tomatoes that appeared new as well as a cauliflower one with caramelized onions. I ordered both as well as the broccoli salad with Halloumi and green beans and the beetroot with red onion. To go with the salads I thought I’d try one of their brioche pizzas, this one with crispy bacon, sun-dried tomato and more caramelized onion. (I usually order one of their pies, the pastry of which is excellent.) I hate to say it but lunch was incredibly unsatisfying. There was too much vinegar in the beetroot, the cauliflower was just on the raw side of al dente, the aubergine salad tasted of nothing. And why oh why were there sultanas with the caramelized onions? Sob.
The worst was the pizza. Maybe its just me but I want my pizza base crispy and I do not really want the base to have a flavour of its own, but because the base is made from brioche it is incredibly flavoursome and overpowers the topping. It was also too doughy for my liking. The best part of the pizza was the crispy bacon which I picked off the top. One unhappy Lexi there.
The desserts I purchased were a little more satisfying. I know what I want because in the intervening years since Moemas opened I’ve tried almost every dessert on display. (With the exception of jam-filled doughnuts.) (This is also why you need to be constantly innovating your best product-I know what I like but goodness it would be great if there was something new to try.) So, today the obvious choice was chocolate brownie. It’s what drew me in in the first place. This is a squidgy brownie that is neither chewy nor cakey but somewhere inbetween. Its very dense and has an impressive chocolate taste. There are chocolate chips and hazelnuts hiding within which I like. I also bought the caramel pecan slice which is another favourite. I can only have about 1/8 of it at a time due to the intense sweetness from the caramel. I like the textures of this slice. The crunch and salt of the pecan, the chewy caramel, the smooth shortbread beneath. Winning indeed. I suspect you could run a half marathon if you ate an entire slice.
I bought two more desserts so I could give you a general idea of what’s in store if you visit. The cheesecake is tart with lemon but has a texture rather akin to peanut butter. You know when the peanut butter sticks to the roof of your mouth? That happens with this cheesecake. It’s not necessarily a bad thing but today just felt too heavy. It also crumbles on you which I dislike. I want a slice that holds itself together as I eat it. But it does have a biscuit base which earns it major points. (I once had to make cheesecakes with sponge bases. I cannot begin to describe how much I despise them.) The other pastry I purchased was a lemon polenta tart. I love lemon and the curd in this tart is great. I especially love the use of polenta in the base which adds a crunch that perfectly balances the sweet, smooth curd. Yayness all round.
So you see, not everything at Moemas was disappointing. I would go for a 4pm pick-me-up hit and avoid the salads. But I would also buy the pies again (if they would just stop putting raisins and sultanas into the lamb pie it would get more airplay from me). They also make great cordials with sparkling water that are great on a hot summers day. Find them at The Parktown Quarter, corner 3rd and 7th Avenues. They’re open all week.