Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Shady Palms Cafe and Bar for Brunch

Shady Palms Cafe and Bar

I've only been to Lady Marmalade once but I had a good enough time there to be excited by the owner's next venture into dining: Shady Palms. This time, the venue is cafe by day and bar by night. As keen as I am to see how the team go at approaching an evening service, I am still primarily a brunch girl so my first visit to Shady Palms was always going to be for brunch.

Bestie Kat and I met up for a morning feed this weekend. There's no onsite parking so you'll have to scope around. I used to live in Stones Corner so it wasn't an issue for me but Kat had a bit of trouble finding a spot. Even though it as a rainy, dreary morning, quite a lot of people were out for breakfast. I noticed that Shady Palms has further seating as you advance into the building but I played it safe and plonked myself at the first vacant table I spotted, right by the front counter.

Quirky touch: famous faces instead of table numbers

The ordering system is line up and pay upfront at the counter. I normally like this because it means people can pay individually (avoiding the annoyance of splitting bills or messy calculations) and the ability to leave right after eating rather than stuffing around waiting to pay.

On this occasion, however, I was caught up in an irritating predicament where I got there early and couldn't order coffee while I was waiting for Kat because I didn't have cash to just buy a coffee and I didn't want to order my food before she got there. The waitress told me about the option of setting up a tab to order as I went and pay at the end but it sounded too complicated for that time on the day so I just sat and waited until Kat messaged that she was nearly there. I ordered my food and coffee then, assuming she would be along in minutes but she couldn't find a park so she ended up ordering much later. Long story short, I was done with my food before she even got hers but it wasn't really the fault of the cafe. I should really carry enough change to buy coffee with!!


When the coffee did arrive, I enjoyed it immensely. It was a small cuppa in terms of volume (I'm finding that to be the trend at these sorts of cafes) but it was full-bodied and creamy.

House made corn bread - with maple bacon, fried egg, paprika sour cream, roast mushrooms and tomato

I bounced between several breakfast options whilst I was waiting but ended up settling for the cornbread. The pieces of cornbread were soft and sweet. I really liked the paprika sour cream. Just those two elements would have made a great TV snack. The bacon was cut surprisingly thick and had more of a ham vibe. To me, it's not bacon unless it's crispy. I liked the individual elements of tomato and mushroom though the egg was a bit too runny for my liking. All together though, it was as though I had ordered a standard hot breakfast fry up but asked for cornbread instead of toast. There's nothing wrong with that exactly but I would have enjoyed this dish more if they had committed to the pan-American theme and swapped out more of the conventional breakfast elements for items that fitted. Some kind of salsa instead of the tomato would have been good.

Two free range eggs - fried, on sourdough toast, roast tomato and a side of tomato sauce

Kat kept it simple with some fried eggs on toasted sourdough, plus a side of tomato sauce. I liked the look of the sourdough here and even from where I was sitting, it had that nice, baked bread aroma. The fried eggs were arranged in artful shards.

I liked the set up at Shady Palms. It's a cool, relaxed environment and there's a good variety of seating options. The breakfast menu options sound so good and judging by the one item I tried, they're all very filling. The drinks arrived quickly but the food took a bit longer, which is fairly normal for weekend brunch. I'll be interested to see how this place transforms at night.
Shady Palms Cafe on Urbanspoon

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