Most of us love beach views or river views when we go out for breakfast, but what about a view of our picturesque hills? Darlington Estate has recently branched into the breakfast market and after a drive through the winding roads you arrive at a view that will take your breath away. As Andy and I were seated Missy Higgins’ “Ten Days” played the chorus – “you’re still the only one that feels like home”, which made me feel reminiscent about growing up in the hills. There is definitely something about Darlington Estate that is homely to me.
I was surprised that our coffee order was taken as we sat down, this is something “restaurants” usually don’t get right. I was keen toorder a glass of champagne as well but this is only available after 10am (yep…we waited and we ordered on the dot of 10am). The coffee was quite mild and didn’t have as much robustness as I would like but it was at a perfect temperature and had a creamy texture.
The menu is seasonal with a heavy focus on the use of local produce – prices top out at $22 for the full breakfast – bacon, sausage, egg, confit tomato, garlic & herb mushroom, wilted spinach, toast and home made baked beans. There is also a kids menu with a choice of raisin toast ($3), pancakes or bacon and egg roll ($8). At first glance Andy and I were wondering – was this going to be another restaurant that excels at lunch and dinner but fails at breakfast? I have seen this too many times to not be suspicious of fancy words used to describe boring food…. I hoped that I would be proved wrong.
The swiss brown mushrooms ($18) came as three rustic piles on top of seed laden bread with bright red harissa making for a tangy, hot bed. Enoki mushrooms added to the tang with pungent goats curd rounding out the flavour. Mixed throughout the mushrooms was little flecks of chilli and pesto giving both colour and a bit of Italian flair. It was meant to come with Swiss chard, which unfortunately was no where to be seen – a small mark on a otherwise perfect dish.
Andy ordered the full breakfast with his eggs “over easy”. He rarely orders his eggs like this because they usually don’t get it right, instead serving up a solidly cooked egg. These guys got it oh so right. Browned on both sides with a warm runny yolk in the middle – perfect. A quality pork sausage was used that was juicy and meaty, definitely from a good butcher as getting these types of sausages in Australia can be hard. Grilled tomato, normally an awkwardly boring addition on any full breakfast was actually made interesting with a herby pesto crust on top. Homemade beans were the star of this breakfast – a sweet tomato chutney flavour with a mix of chickpeas, kidney beans and white beans. This full breakfast was anything but a failure.
Even though it is “just breakfast”, the service is still at top quality fine dining level. The staff are passionate about where they work and they can’t do enough to make sure the customers are happy – I’d almost forgotten what this kind of service was like. I recommend thinking outside of the usual cafe strips and beach side haunts and head for the hills for a breakfast that’s worth the drive.1495 Nelson Rd, Darlington
Breakfast served weekends only, 8:30am – 10:30am