Maze is one of Toorak’s newest eateries, situated in the hub of Toorak Village. It has possibly one of my favourite cafe logos ever (must be the Mathematician in me, but I think it’s really cool) and a very sleek looking interior. Maze refers to itself as a restaurant and it very much feels like one too.
It’s a small, yet well thought out space. The windows at the front fold back, keeping it light and airy, seating is well away from the counter, and there’s a lovely back area which would be ideal to host a small function or family event (maybe 10-15 people). The restaurant feels modern and high end, with more of a trendy wine bar atmosphere than cosy cafe. Service was very friendly, we were greeted immediately and well looked after. Staff were carefully checking on diners to ensure they were happy and comfortable.
I decided to go for something a little different and try the Vege Casa while M.B. went for the Duchess of Toorak (French toast with all the trimmings). The plating for both was fantastic, and while I know it’s good for places to have a consistent “brand” I do also like it when places present their dishes in contrasting ways. It shows me that they’ve been forced to think about the combinations for that particular dish, rather than “this is how we plate stuff”.
My Vege Casa consisted of soft boiled eggs, avocado and zucchini fritters, buttered asparagus, savignon blanc braised mushrooms (which as you’ll remember are my fave at the moment), hollandaise and black sesame seeds. When it first comes out, the plate is so huge it makes the meal appear small, but it was deceptively filling. I loved the asparagus, it was tender and sweet. It’s perfectly in season at the moment and I hope Maze will consider varying the veggies on this dish with the seasons to maintain this great taste. The fritter was well cooked, and the mushrooms were very enjoyable. I’m not sure why the eggs were boiled instead of poached (to be honest, I didn’t actually notice, and boiled eggs seem much more of a hassle as you have to shell them). The hollandaise was done well, but was quite spicy. I enjoyed this as I like spicy food, but definitely think this needs to be clear on the menu, as I know many people wouldn’t agree.
The Duchess of Toorak was indulgent and delicious. We couldn’t quite figure out what the French toast was made from, but it wasn’t your standard piece of bread, it was much lighter and fluffier. It didn’t mention the fruit on the menu, but we were glad it came with it as this helped both the presentation and the flavours. The honey cream and white chocolate shards gave the dish the perfect sweetness and the generous jar of caramel sauce – with a syringe to get that ideal drizzle – was a great addition.
As with any new cafe, Maze has a few little kinks to iron out with the menu and they definitely feel as though they are still in the experimenting stage of this, but they have a good variety: breakfast, light snacks, and lunch with a real veggie focus on the breakfast menu too. They offer excellent service and some great quality food, the french toast in particular ranking very highly on the list of dishes we’ve tried this year. Thanks for having us Maze!