An Aussie inspired brunch located in Sai Ying Pun
I embarrassedly admit I’m a total creature of habit, and this is especially the case when it comes to dining out. I tend to stick to the usual spots. You know, the places that are tried and tested, offer tasty eats and are always on point when it comes to friendly service?
However, last weekend I was invited to try out the newly opened Artisan Garden Café, which is nestled between Sai Ying Pun and Kennedy Town. In my attempt to venture out of my comfort zone, I strolled slightly off the beaten path. Just a hop, skip and a jump from my flat, I found myself in the most charming and inviting café. Artisan Garden Café flaunts a cosy outdoor terrace, out of this world coffee (really!) and the most amazing collection of vintage Fire-King glassware. The owner’s personal collection of Fire-King glassware is actually what’s on display, and it is also used in service adding a quirky twist to each individual order.
Now on to the important stuff, because even though a restaurant can nail the ambience, what really, really matters is the food! Which I think we can all agree on.
The mastermind behind this delicious menu hails from Melbourne, a destination on the map for foodies; after all, Aussies take pride in their remarkable café culture. The menu is relatively small, but bursting with flavour. The chef experiments with interesting flavour combinations, from rich and savoury to fresh and light. I would argue the menu rivals some of my long time foodie favourites, and with the past seven years spent between New York, London and Hong Kong, it’s fair to say my expectations might be set moderately high.
Inspired by it’s catchy name lettered on an oversized chalkboard menu posted on the wall, the Superfood Salad ($98) immediately caught my eye – yes I am a BIG fan of anything packed full of healthy, nutritional ingredients. We started with that…
The mixed greens were lightly dressed and topped with toasted pine nuts, balsamic marinated beets (delicious!) and savoury feta. For a finishing touch, a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds and a crispy sprig of fresh asparagus were added. The ingredients are clearly well sourced and prepped with care, as each bite is filled with delectable freshness.
I probably could have stopped there, scarfing down every bite for myself, but given how I adore a good avocado toast it comes as no surprise I opted for the Chunky Avocado ($118) for my main. And per the chef’s recommendation, my husband ordered the Cheese Burger ($98). Who know you could infuse such creativity into a dish!
The avocado toast was divine – think chunky avocado, poached egg, sun-dried tomato, feta cheese and micro herbs all deliciously adorned with a few surprise flavours – thinly sliced red chilies, mint leaves and black and white sesame seeds. This dish took a basic avocado toast to a whole new level, packed full of flavour-forward ingredients working in perfect harmony. Well-played chef, this dish needs to be diet staple for me.
Now, onto the burger. It was an oversized, juicy mess in all the right ways. My only criticism would be the addition of the caramelised onions. They were caramelised to perfection, but a teeny-tiny bit over powering in terms of flavour, as the beef was so tasty on its own.
Although we both felt completely satisfied, we were offered a decadent taste of sweetness that we simply could not resist… and I don’t even have a sweet tooth!
Let me introduce you to the Sea Salt Caramel Waffle Sandwich ($88). Layers upon layers of goodness, including fresh off the griddle waffles, decadent homemade caramel sauce, juicy strawberries and a sea salt ice cream that will make your mouth dance!
If you’re looking for the perfect new brunch spot, then make sure you venture to 23 Po Tuck Street next weekend and check out the delectable Artisan Garden Café. Bring your friends and enjoy a leisurely morning feast, or if you’re only passing through the neighbourhood be sure to at least pop in for a takeaway coffee. I promise, this spot will not disappoint. Happy eating!