Under the new(ish) apartment buildings on Newcastle street are shops that most people probably don’t notice but it’s hard to ignore one of them with its groups of people waiting outside. These people are of course waiting for a table inside the Tuck Shop Cafe, Pie House & Delicatessen. This place is so popular that people are willing to wait 45mins for a table – including Kirsty, Terri and myself!
We arrived at 10.30am and put our names down on the list. I expected that we would have to wait given the time of our arrival but I was a little shocked to be told 45mins. BUT we waited as there seemed to be a lot of tables finishing up. We ended up waiting about 30mins before we got a table cramped in against the window between a table of new mums with their prams… and others. Even the wait staff seemed to be taking deep breaths in to squeeze between all the tables.
The menu is adapted so you can pretty much order anything and it would be perfect for either breakfast or lunch. Although I think some of the meals just become “breakfast” because it has an egg on it. The menu changes regularly but after speaking to the waitress she said they are finding people want to keep ordering the same things so it’s starting to become fixed. Of course they always have a delicious selection of pies for $12.50. Prices go up to $18.50 for the “breakfast” type meals and there is a whole tasty, rich selection of them. I thought the prices in general were very reasonable for what was on offer.
We all ordered a juice and I ordered a cappuccino. The juices were fresh orange juice or apple, lemon and ginger. They were very refreshing. The coffee used is Toby’s Estate. They try to change up the blend they use and today they were serving Columbia Supreme. It was made by a barista who really knew how to treat coffee right. The flavours were described as nutty and it had a creamy texture right to the last mouthful.
Terri chose to have chorizo with paprika potatoes, peppers, spanish onions and crispy pork belly with a fried egg (which she changed for poached) ($18.50). The meal looked very colourful and whilst the pork looked dry and tough, it was anything but. It was soft, tender and moist with a nice crunch. The egg was poached perfectly and there was a definite spanish flavour in the dish with the soft paprika potatoes.
Kirsty ordered baked beans with smoked ham hock, a poached egg and parmesan toast ($18.50). This rustic dish was oozing with smokey flavours and big chunks of tender ham. The sauce had a sweetness about it and Kirsty commented at how nice the parmesan toast was dipped in it. The onion rings added a bit of a wow factor for us for some reason – they were crunchy rings of sweet onion delight.
I decided to go with the Moroccan meatballs on flatbread with hummus, tomato and za’atar fried egg ($17.50). If you are wondering what za’atar is – it’s close to dukkah in flavour, look and texture. It’s made with thyme, sesame seeds, surmac and other spices. This dish was medley of wonderful flavours. The meatballs were soft in the rich tomato sauce and the freshly made hummus added an earthy element to the meal.
All meals were presented beautifully and we all commented on how rich the food was. Looking over the menu, this isn’t a place you would go if you wanted a light breakfast. We were VERY full when we left.
The service is very friendly at Tuck Shop and the waitress we had was very accommodating and took the time to chat about the menu. Our meals did take over half an hour to come out… I don’t think this is acceptable. It is a persons choice to wait outside for 45 mins for a table but once seated inside the long wait should be over. If a cafe is going to ram people inside then they need to make sure they can still serve them meals in a timely manner. I feel that it was too crowded inside and the kitchen could not cope with the capacity. It did not ease up the entire time we were there and when we left the lunch rush crowds were now queuing for tables outside.
If you are going to check out Tuck Shop Cafe for breakfast, I recommend going very early to avoid waiting. The food and service is worth it.Unit 1/180 Newcastle St, Northbridge
Breakfast served all day Tues – Sun, 7am – 4pm