Crows Nest has its fair share of pricey cafes, but one of the better ones is The Moody Chef, located closer towards St Leonards station than the popular Willoughby Road. If you want a table for lunch during the week, you better be prepared to either arrive before 12pm or to sit outside, as most tables are booked out by local business people for their working lunches! It’s no surprise it’s so popular though – the decor is warm and inviting with featured bright green decor, and the quality of the food is pretty darn good!
In contrast to my usual habit of brown-bagging my lunch every day, I’ve actually been to Moody Chef twice in recent months – once to meet my friend April who was visiting from Brisbane, and once as a “get to know you” lunch with a new colleague.
For my first lunch date, I ordered the salmon and avocado delight, but requested that the kitchen substitute the cream cheese for an alternative. From the way the waitress handled my request, you’d think that I was asking for something completely out of the ordinary – she was really confused by the concept of having salmon without having cream cheese! I finally managed to convince her that I was serious though, and suggested that they give me a sliced tomato instead.
It turned out well in the end, and I found the amount of avocado and salmon on the plate so filling that I didn’t even end up eating the toast it was presented on. The salad underneath the toast was well dressed as well, with the rocket adding a peppery punch to the meal.
On my second lunch date, my new colleague ordered the lunch special of the veggie frittata, prettily presented with a big dollop of beetroot relish and shavings of parmesan. The layers of the frittata were just beautiful as well, and apparently the medley of health vegetable flavour worked really well.
I chose a much unhealthier option, and had the grilled chicken burger with thick hand-cut chips. Because the burger was so large, I actually ended up not eating any of the bun at all, and had the chicken patty and the salad (rocket, avocado, sundried tomatoes and more) in a deconstructed style with the chips. The salad was really well done and fresh, and the chicken was grilled well and not too dry either, which I often find with chicken breast.
Overall, while I really enjoyed the food at The Moody Chef (fresh produce and great flavours), it really is quite pricey for a regular workday lunch. If I was to pay $20 per day for lunch, I’d be broke before my next pay comes in! For the occasional special occasion, or when you use an Entertainment Book voucher (25% off the total bill), it’s a really nice treat.