Spring has sprung at Harvest Espresso

A few weeks ago I attended one of Twigged by Tali‘s flower classes which she hosts at Rochelle Adonis. I’m a huge fan of all things aesthetically pleasing – food, flowers, clothes and so on, so these classes are right up my alley. I’ve gone to a few, but this particular one called Table Styling was a celebration of all things springtime. We went around the table, each of us announcing what we love most about this season. I had my answer all ready – it’s all about the beautiful produce. But it turns out I wasn’t alone, the lovely head chef from Mrs S was actually sitting next to me and said the exact same thing. I guess foodies always have the one thing on their mind! 
Part of being excited about the spring produce on offer is a dedication to trying new seasonal menus that are popping up around Perth. I so love restaurants and cafes that change up their offering depending on seasonality, and if it impresses me one time, I often find myself back every turn of season to try what’s out next. 

As I’ve mentioned before on my blog, my boy is working every weekend this year until he starts his formal 4 days/nights on, 4 off with St Johns as part of his paramedic training. The past few months he’s been on night shift and between balancing a heavy study load plus volunteer work and his kung-fu training, it’s hard for us to find time together on the weekend. Especially since I often indulge my social butterfly whims and am out and about catching up with friends (or shopping to sate that side of me that craves aesthetic satisfaction).

Lucky for me, the boy surprised me with a weekend breakfast date, rousing us out of bed at a relatively early time (for us) and into the car. After a sunny week the rains were back but I didn’t mind – I know it’s going to be impossibly hot soon enough and I’ll be retreating to water or air-conditioning rather than venturing on food discovery missions.

While he wanted for us to go down to Hillary’s and walk around, the weather didn’t agree and we both knew there’s not really any decent breakfast offerings down there unless we go down the road to Voyage or Yelo. So instead he suggested Harvest Espresso which I was more than happy to agree to. He knows I really adore this place but to be honest he’s only been once and wasn’t very enamoured with it. I was hoping this outing would change his mind.

As we arrive I can see that the cafe is already packed full, but there’s only a couple other people waiting for a table outside. We join the queue and after around a 15 minute wait we’re inside, warming up and eying off the food around us. I always have a prickle of worry before coming to Harvest Espresso – you never know how long you’ll be waiting since it’s so small inside! And it seems on this day our timing was perfect – just after we’re seated I sneak a look outside and see about 10 or 12 people waiting to come in.

Choosing what to order is easier said than done here. The new spring menu is made up of some fantastic sounding options including salted cod fritters and a pineapple and almond baked slice that looks so pretty I want to order it just for that very reason. In the end we make our choices and my boy goes up to the counter to place our orders.

Our drinks come out quickly, a perfect accompaniment for the drizzly rain ticketing down outside even though there’s sunshine filtering in through the window next to us. Jeremy’s ordered a flat white ($4.00) which he dives straight into so I’m guessing it’s the perfect drinking temperature. He tells me it tastes good and before I know it it’s disappeared!

Even though I know it will fill me up I select a hot chocolate ($5.00) which they make with real coverture chocolate and it comes with a good marshmallow (a pink one too yay!). The foam on top is creamy and has a nice chocolatey kick, but the real magic is the drink itself. It’s such a lovely balance between the chocolate and the milkiness – it doesn’t overpower in either department or leave that chalky taste hot chocolate sometimes can.

Our food comes out quite quickly after our drinks which I guess is a real perk of having such a small cafe. The boy’s dish hits the table first and I see a few people turn around to look at it. That’s one of the things I really love about Harvest Espresso – the food always looks as good as it tastes. 
He’s ordered the beef tongue ($21.50) which comes with grilled polenta, sauce gribiche, poached eggs, rye & mixed seed. It’s gluten free too as are many of their dishes. While neither of us suffer from a gluten intolerance, given its prevalence these days (his little brother suffers from coeliacs), it’s great to see more and more eating spots catering to this. 
Naturally I dive in to taste test his dish (all in the name of blogging… right?) – starting with the polenta. It’s so soft but well shaped, soaking up that gorgeous jus that’s drizzled enticingly over the top. The sauce is definitely liquid gold and lifts the dish to a special place. The tongue is tender and flavoursome, and I particularly like the gribiche which is a mayonnaise like sauce that has herbs and chopped up eggs throughout traditionally. It’s just the right amount of creaminess to cut through the richness of the dish. 
He’s quiet as he eats which is usually a good sign but nonetheless I have to ask him what he thinks. After all, I’m so hoping he’ll come around to loving Harvest Espresso like I do. Thankfully it’s a double thumbs up and he tells me that he’s really enjoying it. Hooray!

My dish is the gourmet mixed mushrooms ($19.50) which is exactly what I needed to satisfy my ever present mushroom obsession. Have you heard of flexitarianism? It’s sometime I’ve only really learnt about recently but is basically where people still eat meat (and enjoy it) but have a large skew towards vegetable dishes in their diet. I never knew the name but it’s definitely a style of eating that I have adopted in the last few years in particular.

Eating mushrooms can be just as satisfying as meat when they’re done right. And these ones definitely are. They’re cooked perfectly, retaining some firmness and bite to the texture. They’re sitting atop of a creamy tarragon sauce with pea shoots and croutons, and are topped with two glossy slow cooked eggs. There’s also a couple slices of rye bread on the side to soak up the yolk overflow that bursts forth the moment your fork spears through the surface.

It’s a really great dish. I love seeing so many different mushrooms on the plate – all offering slightly different earthy flavours and textures. There’s enoki, shimeji, oyster, nameko, king brown, chestnut and shiitake. Tarragon is such a great accompaniment too, only serving to enhance the delicious buttery goodness from the cooking process.

The slow cooked eggs are wobbly and vibrantly orange in the centre. They’re barely cooked and so seductive as they ooze apart. I actually don’t need the rye bread (since I had the hot chocolate) but the boy gladly accepts it to mop up some of my sauce plus his own. He’s pretty full by the time we’re done! The pea shoots, micro-herbs and gorgeous nasturtium flowers offer just the right amount of freshness and crunch to each bite. It’s a really well balanced, well seasoned and well thought out dish. A definite stand out!

Visiting Harvest Espresso for me is always such a treat, especially when those visits align with trying a new seasonal menu offering. I’m so happy the boy enjoyed his meal as well and I know without a doubt I’ll be back soon enough. I can never stay away too long! It has all the neighbourhood charm you’d want in a breakfast spot, while offering you exciting flavours unlike other places in Perth. No wonder there’s always such a long line outside! It was the perfect excuse to spend some time with my boy, plus be treated to some sensational spring produce.

Harvest Espresso on Urbanspoon

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Eddie
    21 October 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Wow awesome photos hey really captured how good their food looks. My gf and I go here regularly it's the best!

  • Reply
    Queen of Bad Timing
    22 October 2014 at 2:17 pm

    Thanks! I love eating in places with lots of natural lighting it's so much easier to capture how great it all looks 🙂

  • Reply
    Simmy
    23 October 2014 at 3:11 am

    Arh still havent tried this place! Youve sold me tho! 🙂

  • Reply
    Queen of Bad Timing
    25 October 2014 at 4:04 pm

    Oh I hope you like it! It's always such a crowd pleaser whenever I take someone new there 🙂

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