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Friday, August 21, 2009

Tarting it up

I'd been meaning to get to Tarts for a meal ever since reading a good review on Breakfast in Perth, and realising it was literally a few minutes walk from my apartment. I actually ended up having lunch there a few weeks ago with some friends prior to checking out the Made on the Left market at the Hyde Park Hotel. My friends and I all really enjoyed our meals (tarts and pies with salad) but I was too busy getting stuck into my food to take any photos, I'm sure you understand.

Luckily my sister's visit a couple of weeks ago provided a great excuse to get back there to try out the breakfast menu, and we casually made our way up there on the Saturday morning, admiring the terrace houses on Lake Street during the walk. Tarts is quite nice inside, being a converted old house with all the nooks and crannies still in place. There are gourmet food items and accessories for sale inside, and I picked up a cute birthday card for a friend while we were there.

I actually managed to book for the three of us when we had lunch there, but was told this isn't normally the done thing as they generally only take bookings for groups of 6 or more. At least you've got some pretty things to look at while you wait for a table though I guess! Perhaps that's part of their cunning plan.

You pick up menus from the counter, and you can order off those or from the display case next to the counter. The display case is quite mesmerising, filled with all manner of delicious cakes and tarts and pies and biscuits, and I noticed a few people come in to buy sweets to take away with them. I wonder if they tried to pass them off as their own. Do people do that?

The menu is quite good, starting with $6.90 breads with homemade preserves, honey, cream cheese or vegemite; moving up to dishes such as a $9.90 breakfast trifle and $10.90 "The Italian - slice toast, fresh tomato, feta, avocado with Tarts lemon dressing", a couple of bagel options for $11.90 and then the hot dishes. We noticed that the "bratwurst" part of "bratwurst sausage" had been crossed off the menu and imagined that their relationship with their trusty German smallgoods supplier had gone sour following an unfortunately mistimed joke about socks and sandals. Neither of us went for the sausage options so we'll never know what replaced the bratwurst in their menu. A sausage mystery shall remain.

Our breakfast decisions were not too difficult, choosing our usual long blacks with a little milk on the side and then turning our attentions to the food. No surprises that my sister went for the smoked salmon option, choosing the "Eggs Neptune - 2 poached eggs, smoked salmon, steamed spinach with Tarts' own hollandaise sauce on sour dough toast $17.90" (asking for the sauce on the side). I took a bit more time, settling on the "Mushroom on Toast - mushrooms, fresh ricotta, rocket & pesto $14.90" with some extra poached eggs ($4 for 2).

My sister went and ordered at the counter and I admired the foodstuffs on sale and eavesdropped on the conversation of the table of guys sitting next to us. They were having a really hard time deciding what to order, and I was about ready to weigh into the conversation when my sister returned with our little number on a stick. She was gone for quite a while - you need to be pretty patient if you're here when it is busy, as you have to order and pay at the counter and this can take some time.

Eggs Neptune (with hollandaise on the side, and with the forgotten spinach really on the side) ($17.90)

Our coffees and food came out quite promptly, but something seemed amiss with my sister's breakfast. The spinach was missing! Look at her sad, sans-green plate. Strange item to forget, but they fixed it quickly when she went to ask about it. After getting all the elements, she was happy she stuck to her smoked salmon guns and enjoyed her breakfast.

Mushroom on Toast, with extra poached eggs ($14.90 + $4)

I really liked my meal, it was a great combination of textures and flavours. The ricotta was so thick and creamy, the mushrooms earthy and almost meaty, and pesto tasted freshly made and not overly oily, and the rocket was fresh and crisp. Importantly, the eggs were poached to perfection and oozed nicely with the rest of the dish when I busted into them. Every element of the dish worked really well with the rest, and I'd very happily order this again. The only thing I would change would be the toast - I'd prefer a nice grainy wholemeal but the sour dough was quite nice.

Service was good, very friendly despite being quite busy.

I'll be returning to Tarts for breakfast and lunch I'm sure, and I also think a visit during afternoon tea time is required to fully complete my reviewing experience.

Tarts Cafe
212 Lake Street, Northbridge
Phone: 08 9328 6607
Hours: Daily 7am - 6pm (breakfast served until 12 noon)
Tarts Cafe on Urbanspoon


Pam August 22, 2009 at 1:46 AM  

The mushrooms on toast with poached eggs sounds WONDERFUL. I would love to have this for lunch today.

Iron Chef Shellie August 22, 2009 at 8:52 AM  

nice think pieces of toast! i like!
both look pretty good, not something I'd usually order, but having a food blog has opened my eyes to lots of different possibilities!

Sandra August 22, 2009 at 1:16 PM  

I went there for some cake/tart after breakfast (yes, call me glutton) and I fell in love with that place almost immediately! With the beautiful set-up within the place, and the cute little tarts that taste great, it's a place I would definitely be going back! and now with your review on their breakfast, looks like it's a must that I return! Thanks :)

Sandra (from Perth Food Engineers) :)

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella August 22, 2009 at 6:46 PM  

Re your question about whether people take things away to pass off as their own, I read the Martha Stewart biography Martha Inc where people used to drop off their own baking dishes and she'd cook something in them and they could take them home and serve them to guests! :P

Conor @ HoldtheBeef August 22, 2009 at 10:27 PM  

Pam - it really was great, particularly with the creamy fresh ricotta!

Iron Chef Shellie - Yes! There's no excuse for stingy toast! Having a food blog also makes you sometimes order something other than your first choice, if someone else wants that too, just so you have more things to discuss! Oh the things we put ourselves through ;)

Sandra - It's really nice in there isn't it! I really must get back there for some of their sweet offerings :) And you're welcome!

Lorraine - that's so funny. What if everyone hates the dish though? Serves you right for being a big fibber I guess!

Evelyne August 25, 2009 at 9:43 PM  

I'll know where to go for breakfast the next time I am in your neck of the woods (maybe one day, one can dream)

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella August 27, 2009 at 11:20 PM  

I know! I mean it's so risky isn't it! And what if they ask you for the recipe what do you do? lol

Conor @ HoldtheBeef August 28, 2009 at 9:32 AM  

Evelyne - Come for summer! I'll cook you some roo :D

Lorraine - Haha! It'd probably be more work in the long run as you'd have to research the dish so you could answer any questions! Actually, you could always say it was a secret family recipe (although my friends would smell a rat as I am not much of a recipe secret keeper).

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella August 31, 2009 at 8:07 PM  

Hehe that's true, secret family recipe is a good idea! Not that I'd bother doing that-by the tie you bring a plate over to someone else's place and pick it up, it's easier to make your own! hehe

Maria@TheGourmetChallenge September 23, 2009 at 12:41 PM  

I would have so much more stuff to blog about if I didnt eat it before taking a photo. I have the same issue as you. Maybe with time my stomach will wait a few seconds to take the obligatory shot.

nothing better than a perfectly poached egg. Its heaven on a plate!

Conor @ HoldtheBeef September 24, 2009 at 5:45 PM  

Oh yes Maria, a perfectly poached egg is very hard to beat. Erm... not literally, although I guess that's true as well!

And sometimes it's nice to let the stomach rule and forget about the photos, but I always feel so remorseful afterwards. Food bloggers remorse.

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My love of cooking is surpassed only by my love of eating, though I never quite recovered from the beef I was served at college. I'll try almost anything once, but it takes a very special piece of offal or beef to get me to try it again.

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