In a sea of thoughtless “modern Australian” restaurants exists one of Vic Park’s newest additions – Harvest Espresso. This little gem, run by a dedicated husband and wife team, is a welcome addition to the ever improving Albany Hwy strip. It’s cosy and rustic inside; jars with dried wildflowers adorn the wooden tables and delicious looking pastries decorate the counter. I really liked the “natural” feel of the place and it seemed as if this cafe could be picked up and put in the middle of the bush and it wouldn’t look out of place.
I feel exhausted with choice when I pick up a menu that resembles one from a cheap northern suburbs chinese restaurant – too many options – one or two actually worth eating. I really value a place that has a small, yet interesting menu. Harvest Espresso has just this; all the choices are enticing and what they do – they do it well. Menu prices top out at $20 for the “Full Harvest” – eggs, bacon, grilled tomato, pure pork sausage, mushrooms, wilted spinach and toast. The options for toast go beyond “bread”, you can choose from sourdough, gluten free, multi grain, fruit toast, croissants or brioche.
Our Five Senses coffee was exceptional – a great coffee made by a great barista. It was at that perfect temperature where you could drink it straight away but you didn’t have to drink it quickly before it got cold. The flavour was rich and smooth. I now wish I had ordered a take away cup!
Jay and Marie both ordered the Harvest Spanish Baked Egg ($17). This was a combination of egg, chorizo, cabbage, tomatoes, cannellini beans, paprika and french baguette. There was certainly no scrimping on the good bits; it was packed with large pieces of chorizo and loads of beans. The flavours were bold and the little fingers of cut baguette were perfect for mopping up the tasty, thick sauce. Both girls commented their eggs were cooked perfectly to order (Jay ordered hers hard, Marie – soft) and it was a deceivingly filling dish.
Megs chose to start with a base of eggs on toast ($9) and added wilted spinach ($2) and mushrooms ($2). The spinach was blanched just enough that it still maintained colour, crunch and fresh flavour. The mushrooms were well seasoned and the eggs were poached with firm whites and soft runny yolks. Megs commented that it was nice to be able to pick multigrain bread instead of always having sourdough.
It’s hard to make an omelette look good on a plate, but it’s really all about what’s inside that eggy pouch that counts. The mushroom, capsicum, tomato, goats cheese omelette ($15) that Jess ordered had a perfect blend of fillings and no boring bits. Sometimes with this meal your have to eat though the plain egg edges to get to the good stuff in the middle – well not with this well put together omelette!
My dish of seasonal mushrooms with rocket, goats cheese and toasted brioche ($15) was a perfect marriage of flavour. The tartness of the goats cheese mixed with peppery rocket and pungent porcini, button and oyster mushrooms went so well with the sweet, fluffy brioche that I was disappointed when I had finished my meal. I thought it was brave to use brioche, usually considered a “sweet” bread, in this savoury dish but it worked… and it worked well.
All the staff at Harvest Espresso are friendly and chatty. They really make you feel at home and you get a sense that they actually care about what is being put in front of you. This is the kind of place you want to keep a secret but that would be unfair for everyone else to miss out on experiencing such a wonderful little cafe.
Breakfast served Tuesday – Sunday 7am – 4pm