I married an Englishman and despite me being from the colony and him from the mother land, there is a huge cultural difference between us. For one, he doesn’t understand fairy bread. Andy used to live north of Joondalup and this is where I got a real cultural shock. I had no idea that these far northern suburbs were so popular with UK expats and I found things like “The English Shop” as confusing as “The Walkabout” pub in London.
I have never been very complimentary about eateries in these northern suburbs as the “good ones” are few and far between. So when Andy suggested we go to the London Cafe and Bar in Currumbine with his English friends Dave and Penny I started rubbing my hands together and cackling “oh this is going to be so bad”.
Next to The Great British Chippy is this cafe and bar decorated with a plethora of pukka London hallmarks. The London weather is even displayed in case you were one to miss that it is only 8 degrees in ol blighty. There’s a few booths in the cafe – the prized seat in any restaurant and we were lucky enough to nab one. Well, we booked, so if we didn’t get a booth I would have asked for one!
It’s rare to see local swan valley coffee roaster Yahava served in cafes, so imagine my delight upon seeing it served here. The barista didn’t quite do this top quality roast justice. The milk was overheated resulting in a watery cup of coffee and the flavour was very mild.. TOO mild in fact. It wasn’t what I have normally experienced from a coffee made from Yahava.
It was exciting and different to see that they serve Luscombe Organic Drinks here. They are made in Devon, UK, which is the next county over from Dorset – where Andy, Dave and Penny are from. It was so perfect that on my first ever visit to Dorset they had their yearly pirate day on, so of course my first question about Devon was – “do they have a pirate accent there too?”. The answer is yes. *squeal* I love the pirate accent! There is also a selection of smoothies and juices on the menu, which are available in a kids size as well.
The menu is exactly what you would expect from a place with the name “London Cafe & Bar”. Though, there are a couple of less “English” options available like granola and a breakfast bruschetta. I laughed that they refer to their pancakes as “Proper Pancakes” ($12) – served with either maple syrup and almond, lemon and sugar or cream and berries. I would refer to pancakes with lemon and sugar as being “proper”.. for example – “Andy, are you making me proper pancakes?”.
The most you’ll pay for a breakfast here is $22.50 for their London Cabbie’s Epic Breakfast – two eggs, two slices of bacon, two sausages, tomatoes, mushrooms, baked beans, potato fritter and toast. All extra sides are only $3 – including things like black pudding, Cumberland sausages, fried bread, homemade beans OR heinz beans (remember this is an ENGLISH cafe.. tinned beans is where it is at).. just to name a few.
Got the kids in tow? They’re looked after as well, for $12.50 they will get a cooked breakfast – sausage or bacon with an egg and beans served with a small fruit juice or soft drink, and fresh cut fruit or ice cream.
Surprisingly, Andy ordered the least English thing on the menu – the breakfast bruschetta ($17) and then added the most English side – black pudding ($3). For three bucks you’d be expecting a small slither of pud but he got two massive slabs of this blood sausage that was spot on with it’s spice and texture. I had to take Andy’s word for it because you wouldn’t catch me eating it. The bruschetta was all about firm mushies, fresh spinach, slow roasted tomatoes and feta topped with two poached eggs. *gasp* a roasted tomato on a breakfast ordered by my husband.. the king of HATERS of tomato on breakfast. He said if you’re going to cook tomatoes for breakfast, this is how you do them – roasted until they hit that sweet spot. A litmus test of any breakfast is the poached egg and these two beauties were spot on. The only complaint was that the bread wasn’t toasted enough. It needed more crispy crunch for a bruschetta base.
The classic English breakfast ($18.50) was on the radar for Dave and Penny. This came with two eggs any style, cured bacon, Cumberland sausage, roast tomatoes, mushrooms and toast. If a place calling themselves a “London Cafe” couldn’t nail a fry-up then I doubt they would have survived a week in Currambine before being chased out of town. And this was a very decent fry-up. The Cumberland sausage was from a good quality butcher, it wasn’t too fatty or too spicy. Mushrooms were firm and the fried eggs were spot on – that is runny yolks and not runny whites. Thick cut slices of toast showed that this place was well above serving up sad looking bread from a plastic bag.
When I saw bubble and squeak ($17) on the menu, I had to have it. I remember dad making it with left over roast veggies before he went to work. It was a magical dish that always tasted amazing. I hoped this one would taste magical… or should I say “proper”. It was made with mixed veggies, although I am not sure if they were left overs. What I loved about it was that it was shallow fried to give those delicious crispy pan edges… just like you’ve made it at home. The homemade beans served on the side were quite sweet but were a good match for the dish. It wasn’t a pretty looking breakfast but since when has leftovers fried up ever looked pretty? So long as it tastes good right!?!
I’ll admit that I was proven wrong with this place. If the coffee was spot on then you’d really have me gushing over this northern suburbs noshery.
Shop C1/2 Currambine Central, 1244 Marmion Ave, Currambine
Breakfast served 6am – 11.30 am Mon – Sat & 7am – 11.30am Sundays
Originally published on WA Today – Friday 27th March 2015