Credit: E Michael Wolf

There’s no time quite like the present, a sentiment that rings especially true when it coincides with Christmas morning. 

But man cannot survive on Christmas cheer alone, especially when the day is an occasion that calls for a feast that feeds the stomach, the spirit and the senses.

Christmas is a marathon, not a sprint. Bear that in mind as the time comes to plan an all-important brunch menu that’s as satisfying as it is energising. One such solution to battle early onset festive fatigue is to prepare a degustation that pairs each course with a matching coffee that will not only enhance the flavour profile of each successive course but also keep you buzzing with Christmas cheer well into the afternoon.

Left to right: Red Velvet Pancakes sandwiched between mascarpone and fresh strawberries before being drizzled with white chocolate; Crab Meat Benedict with poached eggs, fresh baby spinach and smoky tomato hollandaise sauce atop an English muffin
Credit: Courtesy of Local MBassy

Few occasions warrant starting the day on a sweet note quite like Christmas morning does.  

Appropriately festive in both palate and appearance is an awe-inspiring stack of red velvet pancakes of the kind prepared by Local Mbassy’s Marcus Gorge, the coffee connoisseur who has crafted a delectable banquet that does away with the hackneyed tropes of traditional Christmas fare in favour of an inspired array of dishes that are international in their scope. 

A signature of the Ultimo café, each bite of Gorge’s vibrant, spongey pancakes is best chased with a sip of Nespresso Ristretto to cleanse the palate and leave trace notes of dark chocolate that pair well with the fruitier notes of the dish.

A second course of Crab Meat Eggs Benedict dressed with featherweight smoky tomato hollandaise sauce partners well with an equally as velvety cappuccino made using Nespresso Dharkan, says Gorge. The subtlety of the dish makes for the perfect accompaniment to the Dharkan’s delicate crema, with its notes of cocoa and toasted cereals. 

Green Matcha Wheat Berry, with coconut milk, poached pear, toasted coconut macadamia crumble and Persian barberries
Credit: Instagram

If a proliferation of green-hued dishes in cafés nationwide as well as Pantone’s declaration that ‘Greenery’ will be the colour of the year in 2017 weren’t enough to convince you that Matcha is hot right now, then this dish will surely convert you to the ingredient’s umami charms. 

Gorge recommends that this moreish dish, which is the perfect combination of sweet and savoury, is served with a piccolo or macchiato made using Nespresso Arpeggio. Its bold flavour profile – the woody notes in particular – prove to be a fitting match with the powdered green tea’s parallel vegetal notes. 

Variations of the barberries of the kind used by Gorge in this dish can be found growing in most places – except Australia. The dried berries are tart and bright – not unlike an especially zingy currant, cherry or cranberry – and are integral to Iranian cuisine. Wild red barberries, also known as Persian rubies or Zereshk, can be sourced through specialist grocers or at online stockists and importers.

They’re also a small but key player in Gorge’s Moroccan Lamb Salad of mixed greens, chickpeas, beetroot labneh, pickled onion and a citrus olive oil dressing. The dish’s full flavours and main event status are best matched with an espresso made using Nespresso’s Indriya from India Grand Cru. The blend’s dry plant notes and its bouquet of clove, pepper and nutmeg is best suited to partnering with the dish’s robust combination of ingredients – one that is sure to have guests talking long into the remainder of the day. 


Motion: E Michael Wolf
Talent: Marcus Gorge
Location: The Local MBassy

Tile and cover image: E Michael Wolf