I'd asked local resident Ash for a breakfast recommendation and she gave me several that I researched the day before. I decided to go with Crabapple Kitchen because unusually it took reservations! And I wanted to be sure that I wouldn't have to wait for a table. I love that it takes breakfast reservations. Who wants to wait for breakfast over the weekend?
We took a short walk from Ash's apartment and found Crabapple Kitchen on Glenferrie Road and there were people milling around the takeaway window. We were shown to our table and settled in.
It's a chintzy, cute place and really reminded Steve and I of a tea room from home i.e. UK. I don't know whether it was the floral benches or the pictures on the wall but it felt welcoming and homely in a light, bright way.
Drinks orders were taken quickly and we were left with menus presented on large wooden boards which took up a bit of room in such a small space. A bulldog clip fastened several bits of paper to the board and I completely bypassed the breakfast menu! Anyway I found it eventually and I'm glad I did!
I went with the:
Tunis, Tunisia ‘Shakshouka’ — A Middle Eastern classic baked eggs in tomato with bell peppers, chilli & chickpeas, sweet smoked paprika, crumbled housemade ‘Shanklish’ cheese with cumin on grilled flatbread
And I added a side of bacon!
Steve said he couldn't get past the:
Myrtleford buttermilk pancakes with Autumnal pears, almond & pink peppercorn praline, lemon & vanilla mascarpone and pure Canadian maple syrup plus maple cured bacon
Presentation wise, the baked eggs looked more appetising colourful and appealing. Steve's dish looked a little more anemic and a bit bland. Both didn't look like we thought each dish would. Baked eggs, we tend to expect them to be served in a pan or oven dish and I though the flatbred would be served separately. We thought the pancakes would be more American in appearance stacked high.
Appearances can be deceptive and as Steve cut into his pancake his heart sang...apparently. It was fluffy and light and tasted amazing. Sweet and then with the salty bacon. Perfect.
I enjoyed the baked eggs on top of the flatbread as it kept the bread soft and soaked up all the flavours. Sometimes baked eggs just taste of tomatoes but this had a good blend of spices and depth to it. Very enjoyable.
Our tea was strong and flavoursome too - just how we like it and I loved the retro orange tea set.
Definitely a good breakfast option and reliable because of the reservations option. Steve rates the pancake dish up there as one of the best breakfast dishes in Melbourne up there with panko egg on roti at Sir Charles in Fitzroy. High praise indeed!
We sat next to an older couple who were very sweet and were obviously regulars. They knew what they wanted without menus and shared a porridge that was split and plated up separately for them and then had a soft boiled egg each and he had two slices of toast and she had one. So cute and so nice of Crabapple Kitchen to accommodate their requests.
We also felt very welcome and whilst it was busy and people walked past us often as it's a narrow room and we were seated at a table in the main thoroughfare, we didn't feel trapped or claustrophobic or rushed. Service was friendly, kind and genuine.