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Green Kitchen Report: Mugg & Bean, Suncoast

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Taking three ravenous grandchildren out for a snack means looking for the best bite for the buck! No delicate nibbles will keep the growlies away, so the trick is to locate a deal that’s going to leave them looking smug and satisfied, perhaps with the odd milky moustache around the mouth. We had been doing the roller skate, skateboard, and roller blade thing on the golden mile, and the kids were flushed and beginning to look skinny. Mugg & Bean at Suncoast was the perfect pit stop.

It’s worth doing the maths when the menu arrives; the kids menu may look cheaper, but sometimes they offer so much less on the plate that it’s a false economy. Weighing up the flapjack story led to a revelation: the adult portion offered three plain flapjacks with syrup and ice-cream for R34, and the kiddie potion was 1 for R22. So three adult portion flapjacks was the answer, with the 5 year old managing two of hers, her third one making a fourth for the teenager. Thick - and freshly off the griddle - these flapjacks come tops as a good filler with the yummy extras. 

A week or so later, a late lunch after watching a movie with a friend seemed a good idea. I went for the toasted sandwich with mozzarella, sundried tomato pesto, and baby spinach leaves, served with their chips, which are hand cut and pretty good. The sandwich was really dry, the mozzarella sporadic, some roughly chopped chewy sundried tomatoes (not blended with oils, nuts and herbs as pesto requires) had been scattered on the unbuttered bread, and no sign of anything green. Also, I wish that the chai latte had not been pre- sweetened, leaving me no option as to how much sugar I would actually prefer. But if I was disappointed, my experience was blissful in comparison to my lunch partner’s.

Deciding that soup would be good, she had settled on her favourite coconut milk, carrot, and ginger soup to discover that either they had either run out or hadn’t made any that day. A runner up choice of roasted tomato soup and basil with a rye bread sandwich was ordered. When it came, one spoonful was enough to confirm that the cook had emptied the salt cellar into the pot by mistake; it was inedible. The manageress, who had just come on shift, took it away to sample it in the privacy of the kitchen.  She came back agreeing that it was over salted, but as the whole pot had suffered, there was no replacement. My friend had a hot chocolate. Nuff said.

Mugg & Bean has a reputation that it needs to guard with greater care. Priding themselves on keeping up with current trends, the menu is a catalogue of tempting looking dishes served in interesting ways. Over salting is an amateur mistake, and leaving out an appealing ingredient or compromising on one leads to a loss of trust.  Win some, lose some. I’ll stick with the flapjacks for the kids, and a glass of tap water for me.

Mugg & Bean is a modern chain café serving hearty classics, gourmet burgers, and sandwiches, as well as coffee and giant muffins. Call 031 3325044 for the Suncoast café.   

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