Potts Point Café, Eastwood: Aussie Coffee (and Crumpets!)August 28, 2014
- Mikka WeeWords
Deep in the heart of Sydney, Australia, is Potts Point—a small suburb that’s done an efficient job of squeezing its population together in a compact space. It is a laid back community, but this particular one is very picturesque, as if each turn of the head places you in a familiar scene from a rom-com or indie flick.
Newly opened Potts Point Café in Eastwood Mall, by the same group behind The Old Spaghetti House, is a slice of its namesake’s cake. Though the space is a bit teensy for the Eastwood crowd, it upholds the look of a coffee shop you’d see abroad—as most cafés are in Metro Manila nowadays. There are subway tiles, dark and light swatches of wood, and scones and cookies displayed in glass jars by the counter.
There is also a line of chalkboards placed too high, which makes me think either of two things: that perhaps I am too short for this view, or that they really are placed in an awkwardly high position (which was confirmed as the “taller” folks took a few steps back just to read the entire thing). The selection of food books could use a bit of improvement, and it takes a bit of strategy to move around without hitting something.
It is on its soft opening stages, and for a quiet Monday lunch, it seems to be fairly occupied, but not too much that the space becomes congested like Manila traffic. Staff are friendly to each other—a little too cheery, in fact. I am handed a menu with a gutsy selection of items that speak of organic and grass-fed items in whispers and hushed tones—an attempt to be unpretentious. It is, also, very English. And Asian. And Western.
Delano organic coffee from Australia is served—a fair contender to the more popular Woolloomooloo blend—with an ethical and sustainable cause, making me feel good about each sip, as if I am contributing to the bigger purpose of all things that end up making a profit anyway.
My eyes make their way to the All-Day Breakfast selection, as I am a sucker for these things. Crumpets make my heart skip a beat. They are served fresh from the griddle with a sticky, stretchy consistency that immediately wins me over—but I’ll try not to be biased. It was a serving of crumpets properly done with a side of blackberry butter. At least, I now know where to get some crumpets in Metro Manila.
A butternut squash soup is a bit too sweet, but a bite of the cream cheese ravioli cuts through it all—it could definitely use another ravioli or two. In a salad, they are generous with the kale. It needed a bit more dressing perhaps to go with the properly seasoned chicken but that didn’t discount the taste.
Other interesting mains we ordered were the coconut cream carbonara and a roast pork belly with nuoc cham and pineapple fried rice. These two porcine dishes showcased the quality of the meat with elegance and care, paying keen attention to what is sought after in the world of pork bellies—crisp, crackling skin with meat so tender you can get by even without help from your teeth. The coconut flavors I was waiting for in the carbonara seemed to be in the middle of a disappearing act however, and the nuoc cham dip tasted more like the vinegary dipping sauce of Crispy Pata or Bagnet, but perhaps it is an issue of naming dishes rather than the cooking.
I was told that the other bestsellers here are the Rosemary Marinated Lamb Chops with Cucumber Yoghurt, Curried Onion Confit, and Quinoa Red Rice Salad (PHP 765), and an Organic Parmesan Chicken Schnitzel with Creamy Tomato Sauce (PHP 310; PHP 540 for sharing). Eggs Benedict (PHP 365) is the breakfast bestseller (but I will still be strongly rooting for the Crumpets!), while the dessert is a clash between a tempting Oozing Chocolate Cake ala Mode (PHP 245) and a sophisticated Warm Caramel Walnut Pie with Thyme Vanilla Ice Cream (PHP 210).
Potts Point is slated to open branches in Makati and Pasig soon, which gets me all excited because it is so rare to stumble upon good coffee in a mall-situated café. But okay, I’ll tell you the real truth: it’s the crumpets.