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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Let's get botanical, tanical..

Given how long I've been sick this winter, I've fallen out of my usual 6am pump class routine in favour for lounging around in bed until a much more civilised hour (well, not that much more civilised in the past couple of weeks as my powerpoint slides had been calling to me, requiring revision). This all changed on Friday though, when I pulled myself out of bed into the freezing early morning air and got myself a-pumpin' while the sun was still thinking about coming up.

As per usual, I got through the hard bits by focusing on my goal - the cooked breakfast that I knew I'd soon be enjoying. Sure, some people like to focus on the great body they are working towards with all the lifting and straining, but by now you should not be surprised to learn that my goal is all about the food. Each lat raise or chest press is one step closer to my steaming long black and softly poached eggs.

The Botanical Cafe in Kings Park, with the Perth skyline in the background

After a quick discussion my pump-buddy and I decided to get our fix of hot breakfasty goodness from the Botanical Cafe in Kings Park, a beautiful location on such a fine (if not freezing) morning. We had eaten breakfast here a few times before, and had been impressed with the quality of the food. Particularly impressive is the house-smoked salmon, which we were delighted to learn is a lovely big fillet of salmon, lightly smoked to perfection.

The menu is decent, with a couple more interesting dishes thrown in among the usual items. I will generally gravitate towards one of the more interesting items on a breakfast menu, but for some reason I kept it very standard this time. Perhaps it was because it had been such a long time between cooked breakfasts for me (not counting the hot porridge I have every morning) but I finally decided upon the decidedly non-interesting combination of poached eggs with extra grilled mushrooms and ham. Luckily my fellow breakfaster chose the "Home made baked beans on Turkish bread with poached eggs and dukkah", which I have had before and really enjoyed (I may possibly have also ordered some salmon to accompany it when I had it, which was entirely unnecessary and most normal people would not require such a pile of food!).

The Botanical Cafe has a quite different feel to its 'sister' restaurant in Kings Park, Fraser's. It's much more a casual cafe, where you order and pay at the counter, and there are some TVs scattered around showing the morning news. The service however is quite good, and the open kitchen allows customers to observe the chef's attention to detail.

Our coffees came out reasonably quickly, and were nice and hot, with little bitterness. The food followed soon after, complete with a little wooden box holding our cutlery and napkins. We did have to go searching for the pepper grinder ourselves, but you're totally sorted if you want to squirt piles of ketchup, mustard or steak sauce on your food as these bottles are on every table. I find "steak sauce" to be a suspiciously ambiguous name, though not as suspiciously ambiguous as "brown sauce".

Poached eggs on sour dough toast ($12), with extra mushrooms and ham ($3 each)

Now, after posting this photo of my breakfast, I'm regretting not ordering something more impressive looking. Happily though, I enjoyed eating it. The eggs were softly poached, and oozed very nicely over my toast when attacked with my knife, and although I was disappointed with the amount of mushrooms I got, they were so nice and big and meaty that this wasn't such a big deal. The ham came out cold, and I realised I should have asked to have it grilled a little, but it tasted freshly sliced and was a great accompaniment to the rest of the dish.

Home made baked beans on Turkish bread with poached eggs and dukkah ($15.50) with extra spinach ($3)

Right, well this dish offers a little more in terms of looks! Whilst the beans certainly aren't the best "home made" ones I've eaten out for breakfast, and don't pack a huge punch with flavour, they are tasty nonetheless and also have a good bite to them. I think the addition of the spinach is great, offering more dimensions to the colours and textures of the dish, and it would do well for the spinach to be a regular part of it. The Turkish bread is fresh and warm and perfect for mopping up the beans.

I can recommend the Botanical Cafe for a nice breakfast in a beautiful location. I have to say though, if you go here for breakfast then 'do as I say, not as I do' and try the smoked salmon, it's lovely.

Botanical Cafe
Fraser's Avenue, Kings Park, Perth
Visit their Website for menus
Phone: 08 9482 0122
Winter opening hours: 7am until late, 7 days a week

P.S. To all the Perthites out there, the regular Friends of Kings Park native plant sale is coming up again soon - 25th to 28th September from 10am to 5pm in the Forrest Carpark. They're all endemic WA species and good prices too, so get down there over the long weekend if you have a chance.

P.P.S. A huge thank you to Katherine from A cupcake or two for awarding me second place in her cupcake competition, for my Banana and Macadamia cupcakes entry! Yay! I will soon be the proud owner of two Cup-a-Cake containers! Thanks Katherine :D

Botanical Cafe on Urbanspoon


Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella September 6, 2009 at 8:32 PM  

Hehe at Brown sauce! The poached eggs and beans do look good and I suppose it was at least good that they didn't use tinned (some places here do). And congrats on your Cup-a-cakes, they're so cool! :)

eatlivetravelwrite September 7, 2009 at 4:22 AM  

This all looks delicious and I don't think your breakfast was unphotogenic at all!

Belle@Ooh, Look September 7, 2009 at 7:51 AM  

I like your approach, equating exercise to food (it's the only way I'd be able to get through a set of squats!). And if there's a breakfast of baked beans and dukkah at the end of it, then it's even more worth it.

Maria@TheGourmetChallenge September 7, 2009 at 8:24 AM  

oh....soft mounds of cloud like poached eggs. You had me at hello! Is it too late to have a second breakfast?

Rilsta September 7, 2009 at 9:29 AM  

I admire your dedication to be able to do a gym class at 6am! My morning routine usually involves sleeping until the last available minute then rushing like a madwoman to get to work on time!

You may not think the breakfast photographs well but there is nothing like a big breakfast out! It's just not the same making it at home!

Short and Bald September 7, 2009 at 10:50 AM  

i always wanted to go to Perth, having brunch at kings park sounds so peaceful. i must say Australians sure know how to cook breakfast. when i stayed in melbourne and sydney for 6 months, i enjoyed australian bacon and fresh, strong coffee so much. my husband (we call him 'BALD') is from australia, so we sometime go back there and i know for sure we will visit Perth one day!

Conor @ HoldtheBeef September 7, 2009 at 11:17 AM  

Lorraine - tinned beans certainly have their place, but only with budget breakies I think! Thanks :)

eatlivetravelwrite - thanks, I think my tummy agreed with you.

Belle - it's the only way I'm able to keep myself going!

Maria - never too late. Or too early for that matter!

Rilsta - it's only because I'm too lazy in the evenings :)

Short - Come! Come! We'll make sure Kings Park birds are kept in check so they don't steal your food from your hand (they're so cheeky).

Agnes September 7, 2009 at 7:02 PM  

Not even the prospect of such a good looking breakfast could get me out of bed at 6am. I am very impressed! :)

The Perth Breakfast Bitch September 8, 2009 at 9:54 AM  

Great review! That poached eggs, homemade beans wih dukkah dish looks great! I usually find that with "home made beans" they are tasteless and powdery. I think the Beaufort St Merchant is the only place I have been that does awesome home made beans. Otherwise - heinz beans are just as good!

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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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