Last weekend I spent all of Saturday day and night with my best friend Carly. We’ve had the worst conflicting schedules lately so it was amazing to spend time with her as we roamed Perth on our various errands and missions. Finding ourselves in Mount Lawley we decided to stop by for lunch. And because, like I said, I repeat behaviour when I find something I love, I ended up coming back the following day with my boy. And yes, I ordered the same dish again – but this time I brought my camera with me to capture the moments!
Mary Street Bakery is owned by the same team behind Ace Pizza and El Publico – two places that easily sit in my top 10 of restaurants in Perth. I’ve actually only eaten at Mary Street a couple of times before last weekend came about. I keep meaning to come back but my endless list of breakfast places that I want to try kept pushing them back. It was only a sporadic decision after shopping at Empire that jogged my memory of just how great this place is.
Arriving with the boy for lunch on Sunday the place is much busier that the day before even though the timing is relatively similar. We place our names on the waiting list and within a few minutes we’re seated at the high bench near the door. It’s hustling and bustling, with lots of diners and also customers waiting for take away coffees and baked goods.
The menu is constantly changing here which is a good enough incentive to return relatively frequently. Flipping the menu over the boy and I settle on our drink orders first so we can concentrate on what food to order. We both pick the choc malt milkshake ($6.50) which come out not long after we place our food orders. They’re delightfully frothy and have a great balance between the chocolate, malt and creamy milk. I love how light they are and how they’re not overpoweringly sweet.
It’s been ages since I’ve had a good milkshake so I really appreciate the beauty of this one. Love the branded cups too and the fact they haven’t succumb to the cardboard straw revolution which look pretty but end up becoming soggy if you don’t finish your drink immediately. Thankfully we have these drinks to occupy the time because our food takes nearly 40 minutes to come to the table! I know they were busy but that’s just a little too long for me without an explanation, though we did get a much appreciated apology upon delivery even though we hadn’t said anything so that was a nice touch.
It didn’t take Jeremy long to make his decision for his dish and I’m so pleased with his choice – it was definitely on my shortlist the day before and that day too! Buttermilk pancakes topped with maple syrup, fried chicken and a fried egg is definitely alluring and seeing it makes my mouth water immediately.
The buttermilk pancake is misshapen and rustic looking (LOVE that), just the right amount of thickness to support the fluffy interior. I love the look (and taste) of the fried chicken which is crunchy and juicy, with a light level of spice included in the recipe. Enough to make you really appreciate how tasty this dish is.
The maple syrup might sound scary when paired with protein that isn’t bacon, but really it’s quite delightful with the chicken, making the dish playful – especially when the oozy egg yolk seeps out onto the other ingredients. It’s a really great dish and it doesn’t surprise me at all that so many of the tables around us have all ordered it too. And while it might not have looked like much, my boy tells me he found the serving more than enough – feeling very full afterward!
My repeat order of the pan fried ricotta gnocchi ($21) was just too good to pass up on – I mean we all know what a gnocchi fiend I am! It comes sitting atop a sweet corn puree, with fresh corn, kale, hazelnuts, pepitas and pecorino.
This reminds me of the old school gnocchi dishes back before Cantina changed owners. After trying ricotta gnocchi at Lalla Rookh on my mother’s birthday, it’s now easily a favourite of mine compared with your standard kind.
There’s so much good in this dish. Well I know obviously I must think so to order it two days in a row! The gnocchi is so airy and light, with a lovely crisp edge. The corn puree is sweet but has a little bit of a kick (on day 2 only strangely) with some chilli flakes scattered throughout. I love the pops of fresh corn and the crunch of the hazelnuts which are so in vogue right now they seem to be popping up everywhere – same goes for the kale. Everything on the plate plays a role in creating a really cohesive and vibrant dish that I was really impressed with.
We gobbled up our food so quickly that we were both feeling very full! Knowing the boy had to get home to get ready for work we left soon after we were done. I was keen on grabbing a baked good to devour later on in the day so I picked up a salted caramel doughnut when paying the bill.
Eating it later in the day I can see why it’s an Instagram sensation currently with everyone raving about these fried goods. I have to say, I was really impressed by the generosity of the caramel filling and the way the salt countered the sweetness. I enjoyed it – but I have to admit I think I’m more enamoured by dulce de leche these days that salted caramel – I may have over indulged in the latter. Very typical of my style – too hard, too fast.
So for me to visit Mary Street Bakery two days in a row I’m thinking they definitely must be doing something right! It’s great to see (for them) that after all this time they’re still a popular eatery and dedicated diners are waiting it out to enjoy brunch there. Both the boy and I thoroughly enjoyed the meal and were sleepily full as we drove home.
The only real downfall of our lunch was just waiting for it with growling bellies. I know that when restaurants are busy, it can be hard sometimes to keep up with orders – but an update, having enough awareness of customers, these are the little things that go a long way. These are the things that create appreciators into devotees. But all of that said, I’ll be back, soon I’m sure, since I do fall privy to food obsessions, amongst many others.