Last weekend I had a day planned with my best friend Carly to go for breakfast and do some shopping. After a delicious meal at Sayers and some shoes later, we decided to go to Mary Street Bakery for some cake and coffee, and to check out the new kid on the block.
Things start off with a beverage each, with myself opting for a Fresh Orange Juice ($6.50). It comes out in a small glass bottle with straw poking out; the liquid a vibrant orange and the taste zingy and fresh. For the price it's a little on the expensive side considering the size, but the flavour makes up for this.
Carly gets a long black for her drink, which comes out steaming hot. She enjoys it at the start, letting me know it's really well made, though it does taste bitter towards the end. Since I don't drink coffee I need to take her word for it!
Unfortunately we then have to flag down another of the waiters that's bustling around as we haven't been given any cutlery to eat our desserts with even though the tables next to us have been provided them prior to ordering. I'm not sure if we just managed to be one of the unlucky ones as we also didn't get water given to us, though other tables did.
The tart looks like a giant Reece's peanut butter cup (one of our favourite chocolates!). Thin milk chocolate on top with a light peanut infused salted caramel mousse inside that sits atop a dark, bitter chocolate base.
It's so rich, but absolutely delicious. I love the lightness of the filling, and the combination of sweet and salty. The bitterness of the base counters the sweetness of the top, which cracks open when my spoon scoops through.
Once we're inside, we're tucked into a corner and it is even louder than the week before. Jeremy's talking to me and I am basically screaming back, craning my neck to hear what he's saying. But when you get past that, the atmosphere itself is enjoyable - everyone there is in good spirits and there's juices, coffees and plate after plate passing us by.
Once the preliminary drink order has been made, we peruse the menu to make our breakfast choices. There's quite a few delicious sounding options, but Jeremy's quick to choose (though he nearly waivers), settling on the Sardine Fritters, Roast Tomato & Fennel ($19).
The sardine fritters are little but packed full of flavour, strangely meaty despite being sardines. There's a great assortment of herbs and spices, and the seasoning is spot on. There's a roast tomato puree underneath which is thick but juicy still, offering some sweetness to counter the fritters. And while I'm not a big aniseed flavour fan, Jeremy says the fennel on top is fresh and crisp, working well with the abundance of parsley sprigs.
For the price tag, it's on the small side so I think maybe a side of toast with this might work better for bigger eaters, but all up it's well executed and enjoyed.
It is a beautiful dish. A variety of mushrooms including enoki, crispy swiss brown, king brown and shitake sit atop a bed of mojo, which is a Puerto Rican herb sauce made up of finely chopped parsley with salt, crushed garlic and olive oil. Sometimes there's onion, vinegar and pepper used in this sauce too.
But as I eat I notice that it's missing the promised crispy parmesan and I'm so disappointed! I can imagine they'd offer some great texture and saltiness - plus the fact that I love cheese. It's too far gone now for me to flag down a waiter, but I can't help feeling like I'm missing out. Where's my cheese???
The egg is crumbed and opens up to reveal a runny yellow yolk and spills out onto the plate and coats my wonderfully cooked mushrooms. Now they are the true stars of the dish; some crispy, others tenderly soft. They have that lovely mushroom meatiness that fresh produce can have, and the selection plus range of texture is all I could ever imagine as a perfect dish. The only downfall (besides my missing parmesan crisps) is that there's too much parsley for my personal taste so I end up pushing most of it to the side since it's an overpowering flavour compared to the delicacy of the mushrooms.
I love the mojo too, it's zingy and fresh, and it binds together all the other elements. It's a smaller dish than you'd have at other places for breakfast, but it's enough for me and I finish my dish with a happy smile. Very delicious!
Unfortunately after a day of travelling about, our tart didn't seem to make it and the fragile creation seemed to burst apart! What a shame, but it seems this is one dessert you need to eat straight away. On the plus side, Jeremy's filled lamington is light, fluffy and has just the right chocolate hit to each bite. A sweet note to finish our busy day!
All up, I liked Mary Street Bakery. I was expecting big things and though the price for serving size is less generous than breakfast at Cantina 663, the flavours are nice and the ingredients fresh. I can see this place being around for a long time.