There’s something about this time of year. The weather is warming, seasonal menus changing and new cafes seem to be popping up all over our lovely city.
Recently my friend Bryony and I headed over to the newly opened tbsp. (“tablespoon”) which I hadn’t heard too much about before arriving! To my surprise I discovered it was actually a new venue from the previous owner of Smuggled Seeds in Leederville – a place I adored before it closed down. My excitement definitely tripled after we found that out, and I threw myself into the menu with gusto. Choosing is never easy for a greedy guts like me!
The venue is simple and sparse – I think since it’s early days. I’m sure it won’t be long before there’s some sort of art on the walls and flowers on the tables. But while I do love aesthetics, my heart always lies with the food itself.
Our drinks (freshly squeezed juice for me, latte for Bryony) came out quickly and looked a treat. These days it feels like everyone’s given in to the whole cold pressed craze – and while I do enjoy it, freshly squeezed is definitely my preference. This orange juice was tart, refreshing and cool. The latte was pretty with the art on top and the double walled glass which I’m a big fan of – they look great and you don’t suffer from burnt fingers!
There was something really delicious sounding about the fried chicken brioche sandwich that threw me for a loop when I was deciding what I wanted to eat. But when I saw the congee with chicken confit, slow-cooked egg, chicken crackling, coriander and spring onions ($14.00) my mind was made up.
Congee is a dish I grew up on as a child and one I’ll never tire of in the least. There’s something about that rich warm rice, and the delicate balance of flavours that gets my heart to skip a beat.
I have to admit I was a little nervous how a non-Asian cafe would go at producing an Asian dish, but I threw my dice in to give it a go. And I’m so glad I did! For the price, it was a big serving size – chocked full of flavour. The confit chicken was tender and melt in your mouth, the crackling skin on top crunchy and salty. I loved the use of the fresh coriander and spring onion, plus the slices of piquant pickle which were refreshing and sharp.
I’d happily order this dish again, especially because it had a perfectly wobbly slow egg in there – and you all know how I love my egg! It burst out slowly, oozily and soaked into that rice. Yum.
I think tbsp. is an excellent addition to our cafe scene, and I am definitely looking forward to visiting again in the future to try more of their menu options. I did think that the decor needs a little more effort, however it is really early days and that can be one of the expensive parts of opening a new venue. Word of warning – there were a few flies buzzing around us since we decided to sit near the natural light by the open door. Not a real issue, but not exactly what you want when dining.