the magic of Cantina 663 continues at breakfast
There's something magical about Cantina 663. There's the rotating seasonal menu, the low lit cozy atmosphere. And then the food itself, it's serious quality. I have eaten here and completely given my heart to the gnocchi and parfait dishes in particular. But until today, I had yet to try the breakfast menu which always looks so tempting but the place is too packed out.
Jeremy and I awoke early today for the weekend, with some errands we wanted to run later in the day. So to make the most of our early rising we thought we'd head over to Cantina knowing that if we couldn't get in we'd trot down to Beaufort St Merchant instead. Luckily the earliness of the time meant we got a table inside amid the steamy dishes being served to customers all around us. It smelt amazing the moment we stepped in.
All the times I've eaten here, I usually find myself in their "outdoor" area. So it was cool to be inside this time, with so much to look at and take in. It's like a sensory overload moment! I immediately spy that they have a wide range of baked goods to view up near the cash register and make a mental note to visit them when we pay to grab some take away treats.
We start things off with ordering a drink each. Since it's kinda cold outside (the rain comes and goes while we're eating) I order a pot of peppermint tea. Jeremy gets a serving of tart orange juice which comes out in a tall glass and is an incredibly vibrant orange. He looks very pleased with the taste and I myself am really enjoying my tea which is zingy and comforting as it makes it way down my throat.
The menu offerings look incredible. There's three that I toss between, weighing up what would be best. The porridge with buckwheat, dulce de leche, banana and cinnamon sounds particularly delicious, as does the bacon terrine with smoked pear and goats curd.
But in the end I go with my gut (and love of mushrooms) and choose the Baked Egg, Mushroom, Ricotta and Breadcrumbs ($17). I'm always curious about baked eggs because different places tend to use different flavours to enhance this cooking style.
It comes out and it is beyond what I expect. There's a giant bowl before me, steaming and heavy in aroma. The egg sits in the middle, hidden by a small herb and red onion salad. There's whole mushrooms throughout which are toothsome and well flavoured. The chunks of ricotta scattered in the dish are generous and start to melt only slightly from the heat of the dish. They maintain their shape and have a great crumbly texture in the centre of each piece. I love how much they soak up the sauce that has gathered in the bowl and how much the toasted breadcrumbs mixed in offer some crunch and sparks of savouriness.
Last week's breakfast at Miss Kitty's was announced as one of my best ever. Well that title has very quickly been replaced now. Thank you Cantina, I will now need to be back asap to have this again!
Fried reuben sandwich
Jeremy's breakfast dish of choice is the Fried 'Reuben' Sandwich ($17.50). It comes out on a plank, each slice of bread crunchy and well toasted. Inside there's beef brisket which has the most lovely smokey flavour and works in perfect unison with the sauteed cabbage that it sits atop. On top of one half of the sandwich is a shimmering fried egg which has a golden centre that glistens enticingly. Jeremy eats one half with the egg and one without - he actually loves it without more, though all up he seems incredibly impressed with the giant sandwich as a whole. Double breakfast win for us both!
We share a side serving of the house Hash Brown ($4) which comes out in a little dish looking like a potato cake. There potato is moist and soft; the herbs throughout enhancing the flavour. It's not as crisp as I personally like a hash brown, but it tastes really nice and I like dunking it in the egg mixture in my bowl.
On our way out we stop by the till and order a Portugese Custard Tart and a slice of the Frangipan tart for my mother who we'll be seeing later. I haven't yet had a report on her baked good, but our custard tarts were phenomenal. Flaky, delicious pastry with a barely sweetened filling. It's everything this kind of dessert should be and I'm almost ashamed to admit I basically inhale it after my first sample bite.
Freshly baked tarts
Sometimes when I think of Cantina 663 I am baffled by how perfect everything is there. I love the utter respect they give to both their dishes produced and the diners who consume them. I can only rave about this place and now I have a couple more dishes to add to my favourite list. It's definitely a great way to start our weekend!