Last Saturday, A and I decided to venture to The Tuck Shop Cafe in Northbridge for brunch. It was an easy choice after viewing the current 94% ‘like it’ score on Urbanspoon, even though 752 people have voted.
When we arrived there were quite a few groups of people waiting for a table. Regardless, we put our name down on the waiting list and were told that we could order a coffee and some nibbles while we waited. A ordered a Strawberry and White Chocolate Muffin with her usual coffee, while I decided that a few bites of the muffin would tide me over until our brunch. By the time I paid for the muffin and our coffees at the till, A had already eaten half of it (see the photo below) but luckily I was able to try a little bit. It was crispy on the top and soft in the middle, and there was generous amount of white chocolate and strawberries within the body. I enjoyed the take-away coffee as well, which was made with Toby Estate coffee beans. It was noticeably light in its coffee flavour, but it was nice to experience a different style of coffee that wasn’t strong in flavour.
It took about 35-40 minutes to get a table. When we sat down, A and I were still umming and arring over what to order, regardless of the time we had to nut it out while waiting! I couldn’t decide if I wanted to order one of their pies or the bowl of chips and gravy or one of their breakfast options. I finally decided to order the Hash Brown with Slow-cooked Lamb, Mushrooms, Poached Egg, Spinach and Herbs ($18.50), while A ordered Free Range (scrambled) Eggs with Organic Sourdough Toast ($11.50) and a side of avocado ($4.50).
While we waited for our food, we were busy looking around the venue. Behind me was a wall full of coffee-loyalty cards that were pinned up on a board. Instead of filling your purse or wallet with your Tuck Shop Cafe coffee loyalty card, you can pin it on the wall to use on your future visits. I really liked this idea as I personally dislike having too many cards in my wallet, plus it was a really nice feature of the cafe. The rest of the cafe’s decor is quite simple and bright, with little wooden tables that have wheels for easing manouvering strewn throughout the cosy venue.
Our food arrived and it looked and smelt amazing. I was initially taken by the green herbs on the side of my plate, not only adding lots of colour but a refreshing taste against the hash brown and lamb. The poached egg was super-runny once it was punctured by my fork and the hash brown was crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. The lamb was very tender, to the point of being very soft and delicate. Overall, I really enjoyed this dish (and so did A!)
A’s scrambled eggs came with two lovely bits of sourdough toast that had a bit of rock-salt sprinkled on them. The side of avocado was generous and came with a slice of lemon. I made a joke to her that I was running out of things to write about her usual order of scrambled eggs, to which she told me that it’s a good benchmark for restaurants to get right. She enjoyed The Tuck Shop Cafe’s rendition very much.
I found the service provided to be quite accommodating and friendly. They aren’t overly friendly but are very efficient (which is my preference). At the end of our meal, I approached the till to pay and asked the waitress whether she encountered any rudeness from patrons who had to wait an extended period of time. She said that there is typically a lot of frustration from customers towards the staff but they try to provide drinks and nibbles if it is exceptionally busy. An excellent, accommodating aspect of the venue.
At the end of the day, the food is excellent. The wait is a little bit longer than what we are used to in Perth, however it shows how popular the cafe is and it is definitely worth it. I am sure that if we were particularly hungry on the day we went, the wait would have been torturous so I definitely recommend a visit to The Tuck Shop Cafe on a morning/afternoon where you aren’t too ravenous (or factor the waiting time into your excursion).
The Tuck Shop Cafe has a lovely lunch menu as well, with home-made pies and hand-cut chips on offer. A has had a pie on another occasion and said that it was really tasty but needed to be eaten with a knife and fork (which she learnt after trying to eat it as a take-away lunch and the bottom of the pie falling out!).
I highly recommend a trip to The Tuck Shop Cafe.