Down a pretty little lane is a cafe that I walk past almost every day and it always catches my eye not because of how tiny it is, but because it’s always busy – they must be doing something right!
As I mentioned a few posts ago, Miss Arabella is studying for her exams. She doesn’t study at home because apparently I yell too much so she spends her days in the library. This morning as she was heading to the gym and then to the library she optimistically stated, ‘I’m going to fail that exam tomorrow’. I didn’t take much notice because Miss Arabella is overly dramatic and instead of settling down to be her therapist I asked her if she would like to meet me for lunch at Albion Lane. She didn’t hesitate. What is unusual about Albion Lane Cafe is that very definitely the customers prefer to sit outside. It could be because the outdoor surroundings are peaceful and pleasant or it could be because there’s a large selection of toys for customers with small children, or it could even be because they don’t mind you arriving with your four-legged friends. Whatever the reason, at the Albion Lane Cafe, outdoor tables are occupied first.
The cafe is tiny; tiny but popular. If the cafe is tiny well then the kitchen is miniscule so I was surprised to see such a wide selection of items on the menu as well as a few specials. How does all this food come from such a tiny space?
The service is very friendly and there are two pleasant waitresses who bring water to the table and present us with menus as soon as we sit down. The customers seem to be equally as friendly although four-legged friends are terrific ice breakers – everyone wants to talk to you if you have a dog!
Then it came time to order and you might remember me telling you that Miss Arabella orders like Sally from When Harry Met Sally. I took a deep breath and waited and if I didn’t have to hold on to the dog leads I would have stuck my fingers in my ears. Firstly she wanted to know if they could juice spinach and kale and spirulina which of course they couldn’t. So she asked what they could juice and in the end chose a beetroot and carrot juice that she said had too much carrot and not enough beetroot.
I just had a mineral water.
Then Miss Arabella ordered her food and chose the grilled chicken breast sandwich with avocado, bacon, rocket and aioli but instead of turkish bread could she have gluten-free bread and instead of the bacon could she have tomato and instead of aioli could she have onion relish. Not too bad, only three changes to the sandwich; it could have been worse.
I was tempted to order one of the specials which was a creamy pesto pasta with chicken and spinach but decided instead to have the pulled beef sandwich on gluten-free bread with rocket and roasted garlic aioli. The bread was toasted and the sandwich arrived with the bread almost too hot to touch. I do like it when food comes straight from the kitchen to your table. The beef was full of flavour and very tender and there was a generous amount of aioli to go with it. Gluten-free bread can more often than not be disappointing but both Arabella and I agreed that this seeded G-F bread tasted just like ‘normal’ bread.
We decided to try a couple of the sweet treats. I ordered a chocolate caramel slice which arrived on a very pretty plate and was a generous serving. Actually too generous to get through but too good to waste so I wrapped it up in my napkin to enjoy after dinner. The base contained coconut adding to the flavour of the slice, the caramel with thick and firm and the chocolate rich and dark. It was exactly how I like chocolate caramel slice.
Miss Arabella had a chocolate brownie with pecans in it. I do love brownies with nuts. It was a lovely fudgey brownie but Miss Arabella said, ‘I much prefer your brownies, mum’. I would have to say the difference would be that if I make brownies, they don’t sit around in cool rooms but instead are served almost as soon as they come out of the oven.
Arabella and I had a very pleasant hour at Albion Lane Cafe. The service is prompt, the waitresses attentive, the environment peaceful and relaxing and the menu varied and modestly priced. Long may it last.
Verdict: Therapeutic Albion Lane Cafe: 2/643-645 Military Road, Mosman NSW Ph: 9969 7226
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