I originally found out about Gillian's Garden Cafe through information about her awesomely famous sandcrab lasana. I've actually attempted it myself and to this date, it was one of the best things I've cooked with my two hands. It wasn't without effort though so I was very excited about the idea of trying someone else's.
I dragged mum out with me for lunch one day (before we drove on to have an indulgent 3hr massage... woohoo, life is good). Gillian's is located on Stanley Street near the Gabba. It's strange because bang in the middle of an inner city road, there's a small nursery slash gift shop slash cafe. It's a bit unexpected.
The cafe seating area really makes you feel like you're at a large nursery in suburbia. When we went for lunch, we sat in the 'outdoor' area. We perused the menu and mum decided on the oysters, which was a special of the day. There were many tempting options on the lunch menu but I HAD to get the sandcrab lasagna.
Coffin Bay oysters - with lemongrass and cucumber granita
The oysters came first. They looked gorgeous! The oysters were as delicious as they looked - juicy and fresh. I've never tried oysters with something like granita before and I must say it worked wonderfully.
The lemongrass granita perfectly complimented the oysters and it was cool and refreshing. All over, a great Summer dish.
Sandcrab lasagne - with abalone cream sauce and seasonal salad
The lasagna came next. It was a real hefty slab of lasagna and packed full of real crab meat. The flavors were rich and beautiful, albeit perhaps lacking a tiny bit of salt (easily ammended).
Cut shot of lasagna
My only complaint is that it wasn't saucy enough. The one I made had a creamy, tomato sauce to accompany the lasagna. Here, there was a sort of creamy sauce (supposed to be abalone cream) that wasn't tangy and there just wasn't enough of it. The light side salad was quite good though.
The next time I went to Gillian's was only yesterday. I was meeting up with an old highschool friend (we'll call her Flinn) for breakie and chose this place because I liked lunch there and the fact that it's inner city but also tranquil (and also relatively easy to find a park).
This time, I was lead to the 'inside' portion of the cafe. It's a quaint area that ressembles a dining room with chandeliers and mirrors and things.
I was undecided on food for a long time but knew I needed a coffee (2 hrs of sleep the night before will do that to you) so I got my usual latte. It will probably take 0-1 hrs of sleep for me to ask for an espresso or long black or any of those without-milk caffine shots.
The coffee was decidedly good. It was intense (but not burnt or bitter) and creamy with a great foam consistency.
Poached free range - with herbed hollandaise and brioche soldiers
I ended up choosing a simple breakfast of poached eggs with brioche soldiers. The eggs were poached perfectly and it was an example of how free range eggs are a league above the regular sort. The yolks were a deep orange colour and huge and delicious. I thought the hollandaise was excellent too but what let me down was the brioche. Don't get me wrong, the brioche itself was fine but to me, it was too sweet to go with the savory nature of this dish. Brioche french toast is awesome. Brioche with egg is... a bit weird.
Potato and leek hash - with smoked salmon, poached egg and asparagus
Flinn ordered the potato and leek hash with smoked salmon. The sauce on it was like my hollandaise. She said it was tasty and fresh but the serving was small, considering the price.
I personally liked my lunch experience at Gillian's better than the breakfast. It could be down to what we ordered but overall, I am still impressed by their food. The environment is inviting and the staff are nice. I noticed a cake cabinet too so I'll probably head back for sweets sometime.