The changing of seasons signifies the refreshment of many menus throughout Perth, which is something I’m truly responsive to. Much like an Autumn tree shedding its leaves, menu pages are abandoned, with new seasonal dishes announcing their presence and begging to be tried. It’s a smart strategy, one that encourages diners to get excited and return season after season – much like I do with Victoria Park hotspot, Harvest Espresso.
I head back to Harvest Espresso quite often, and I’ve blogged about my love affair with this cute little cafe several times. I really enjoy their innovative approach to brunch, with an Asian injection of flavours and ingredients – and their consistent performance. The only thing I don’t love… just how long the lines are! But it’s to be expected given how impressive their food is, and I’d rather have great food with a wait over mediocre food that you can get straight away.
Not long after Harvest Espresso’s new autumn menu was released, Jeremy and I decided to head there one morning with our fur baby Hugo. Because we were after an outside table specifically the wait was lengthy, but finally we found ourselves seated, with our food following not long after.
The cafe was buzzing, with diners of all different ages and walks of life floating in and out of the doors. The menu offers four seasonal dishes – three savoury and one sweet – in addition to their standard typical breakfast and toasted sandwich items. While those are all tasty, I really only have eyes for the seasonal introductions which have a limited lifespan so you need to get in before you miss out!
Jeremy was quick to choose as always, decisively landing on the wagyu beef bresaola ($21.50) with smoked avocado, toasted brioche, stringless beans, tomatoes and quail eggs.
This was actually our favourite dish for the meal! The ingredients were super fresh and vibrant, with the subtle smokiness working well with the creaminess of the super silky avocado. I love brioche (read: I love butter) and this was the perfect vessel to host everything on the plate. I loved those ruby slices of wagyu which were salty and melted in your mouth with their beautiful marbled veins.
I would have liked to see a little bit more wagyu on the dish, ad also for the quail eggs to have been a bit gooey in the centre – though I know the timing of cooking these can be a matter of seconds difference.
When I spied the crumbed veal sweetbreads ($24.50) on the menu, my mind was immediately made. I really enjoy the emerging popularity of offal, and frying said cuts of meat is a clever way to introduce it to people who aren’t really comfortable with the idea.
Served with shaved rainbow beetroot, smoked garlic & sake kasu gel, hazelnuts, two poached eggs, junsai and bread sauce, the sweetbreads sat prominent and proud with their crisp coating. The dish was well seasoned and crunchy, with some seriously strong flavours. I found it quite a dominating plate, but everything was relatively harmonious and all were well executed – check out that happy egg yolk spilling out after the tiniest prod of my knife!
Though we were feeling quite sated at that point, we wanted to try the sweet seasonal dish on offer – the riz au lait ($18.50). A chilled rice pudding topped with chamomile poached pears, vanilla tuile, praline and roasted white chocolate crèmeux.
I’m actually a reasonably new inductee into the rice pudding fan club but now that I’ve tried it, I’m hooked! For me, rice pudding invokes a sense of warmth. Sprinkling of cinnamon and rich creamy mouthfuls. Harvest Espresso’s version is an icy cool version that delivered flavourwise but had way too much cream whipped through. It was lighter than air in texture, but for me it lost the essence of rice pudding and texture too.
The poached pears however were the real star on the plate. Soft and supple, our spoons just slid through the flesh to scoop up the other ingredients on the plate. A beautiful flavour combination, just a bit of a miss in terms of the pudding itself for me personally.
Brunch at Harvest Espresso is always something to look forward to. Seasonality, inventiveness and a playful spirit are the winning ingredients to their offering – and the reason I find myself returning time after time.