When you think of Australian food, what exactly comes to mind? Kangaroo? Barbecued ostrich? King Prawns on a boomerang?
Whatever your thoughts, it’s a pretty safe bet that – for most of you – they had nothing to do with breakfast.
But they should.
On Friday, in order to treat the Man for his birthday, I took him to a small Australian café on Charlotte Place – Lantana – for a special spot of grub to start the day. We’d intended to visit them numerous times before, but it had always seemed too busy.
Now I know why.
As breakfasts go it was up there with the best of them. For savoury-lovers, there were juicy corn fritters, homemade baked beans, halloumi (a Pud-Hog favourite, as you know), and plenty more besides.
However (and I doubt you’ll be surprised to hear it), the dishes this diner fancied were the sweet ones. Two of them in particular: Almond Bircher Museli with a Cinnamon-Baked Peach, and Toasted Banana Bread with Spiced Mascarpone and Passion Fruit.
How was I supposed to choose, I wondered?
Then it came to me: order them both.
I’m mighty glad I did, because what arrived at our table was, quite frankly, the tastiest breakfast offering I have had in living memory.
In it were huge sultanas, vibrant flecks of green apple, plenty of crunchy flaked almonds, and – perched on its gooey white throne in the middle – the juiciest, softest baked peach I have encountered.
Fresh, comfortingly sloppy, and – to my surprise – very generously portioned, I even felt it justified the £5.60 price tag (praise indeed from a skinflint like me).
Normally I would have found it very hard to say goodbye to such a dish. But this time I had some Toasted Banana Bread to get me through.
By ‘some’ I mean a single slice – and again, at £5.50 a go, it was rather more luxurious than your average greasy spoon. But again it was delicious.
Actually, let’s scrap ‘delicious’ and go straight for ‘wowzers’.
I shared it with the Man (but only because it was his birthday) and both of us thought it was expletively good: a moist banana slab, lightly crisped on both sides, with a smooth melting blob of mascarpone and oodles of super-zingy Passion Fruit seeds.
What a combo.
I couldn’t taste the spices in the mascarpone, but that didn’t matter too much: the fruit was the star of the show.
Streuth. My mouth is watering in remembrance.
It was so gosh darn yummy I ate my way through it as slowly as possible, trying my best to savour the flavours, umming and aahing like a fireworks spectator.
By the time I was done, I felt like it was my own celebratory day.
Good thing they had a counter full of cakes.
The birthday fun had only just begun…