The familiar fragrance of baked goods, freshly roasted coffee and a hint of rose greets me every time I step foot inside the charming and forever busy, Mrs S. I find myself drawn back here time and time again, leaving any troubles or stresses at the door and sinking into a chair with a children’s storybook.
When it comes to beautiful food, this Maylands hotspot is one that offers me visual beauty and tempting treats. It oozes appeal, breathes nostalgia and sprinkles just the right amount of fairy magic. I wish so much for my own sake that it wasn’t such a popular dining venue with hoards of eager diners constantly waiting in line patiently for a table. In winter this wait can be brutal, but hey – people in Perth love their food and are wholly dedicated to delights of a culinary nature.
The owner and Head Chef (aka Mrs S), Lisa, is talented in her own right but also bubbly and sweet – showing that when you pour your love into your business and your cooking, people will respond accordingly. Needless to say, I’m a big fan.
A recent visit to Mrs S was the perfect setting for a mid-week date with my boy. Knowing he had the day off from studies/work, I took the day off too. It’s always lovely to get an extra day of rest time, but more importantly it’s so valuable and special to spend time with Jeremy.
I know that we live together, but there is something truly wonderful about heading out on a food adventure, stepping through the doors of a place we know is guaranteed to impress us. There’s no talk of work or study, just relaxing, laughing and (yes we’re so dorky) holding hands. And of course, there’s the food.
It’s always so hard to balance trying new venues with returning to the classics. But every now and then I need the satisfaction of knowing that your meal is guaranteed delicious, and the warmth of going somewhere familiar. Returning to a favourite breakfast place is like the perfect embrace. It envelopes you, wafting familiar smells, memorised textures and if it’s been some time between visits, surprises you with some exciting developments.
Mrs S ticks all the boxes for me aesthetically. There’s tables inside and out, a long share table down the centre. The counter is laden with freshly baked goods and there’s an underlying nursery rhymes style to the place – I particularly love the children’s storybooks with menus pegged inside them. It’s just kitsch enough without being heavily themed or overplayed. There’s also some lovely photos on the wall showing the site Mrs S sits on many, many moons ago. A nice touch.
As is the case with most breakfast venues around you’re shown to your seat and given menus, water and cutlery – and then an instruction to order at the counter when you’re ready. I know this style of service has Perth divided but as I’ve said before, I prefer it for my first meal of the day. I like the freedom that I can order and pay, eat and then leave all on my own timetable. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to leave a place and being unable to find anyone who can assist.
My boy and I start things off with a drink each. I opt for my standard freshly squeezed orange juice (please, breakfast places in Perth, start selling fresh juice, it makes all the difference). This is cold, refreshing and perfectly sour – definitely what you need to jolt your senses into being awake and prepared for food. Jeremy chooses an iced coffee which is tall and creamy. He tells me the espresso shot used is bitter and strong in isolation but appears to be purposely designed as once it combines with the ice-cream and milk it mellows out and becomes a smooth concoction – yet still works perfectly as a standard coffee replacement. It’s gone within a few minutes he enjoys it so much!
My boy momentarily considers the ‘manwich’ on the menu, but he’s the kind of person who will look for the most unusual or different item available because he loves to diversify. He chooses the confit duck terrine ($21.00).
The terrine is wonderful. Well seasoned and flavoursome from the rich duck, it’s covered in a scoop of spiced apricot chutney and accompanied by pickled cucumber, pistachios and toasted ciabatta slices. Initially when it came out I was worried it wouldn’t be enough food for my boy but as he finishes the last bite he assures me he’s quite full – it’s deceptive in it’s appearance!
I love the different textures that make up each bite and the difference in flavours – the sharp pickles are the perfect juxtaposition to the moorish terrine.
Oh how I loved my dish. So much so that I already am trying to organise a catchup with a girlfriend there soon because I want to order it again. I told you the Head Chef is a genius right? Her use of edible flowers (particularly home grown roses) in breakfast dishes is a trend we’ve seen take off in Perth as of late, and while it’s nothing ground breaking in the world of foodsploration, I still find myself loving it. I mean who doesn’t want their food to look AND taste good?
As a food blogger with a social media presence (and a marketer/girl/occasionally-superficial individual), I definitely appreciate all things aesthetically pleasing – it makes my hobby of talking and photographing food much easier too. After all, we eat with our eyes and the prettier dishes in Perth tend to become the ones that get all the virtual love.
But there’s an important line to tow and it’s one many places tend to break… flowers in a dish should make sense. Use roses when the flavour of roses compliments the other ingredients. Use plentiful herbs when the profile of the dish is crying out for it. Reckless abandon might sound exciting, but if the flavours don’t mix well – it ends up overpowering the taste and it becomes all about the look of the dish, instead of a balance between the two.
Thankfully for us all, Mrs S get it right. They use herbs and flowers as ingredients rather than garnishes which is an important distinction to understand. There’s a reason why the food ticks the box for eye candy and oral pleasure, and it’s the same reason that puts this place at the top of everyone’s brunch list.