“This old triangular corner shop has come a long way from its origins, morphing through several incarnations (including a second-hand video store) to its latest manifestation as a cafe that spells charm and eccentricity wherever you look.
Don’t look for its name, Lady Marmalade, painted on the windows or indeed recorded on the building in any form, because that;s one of the things that hasn’t happened yet.
There are more important things on their minds, like getting the food right, which they do very well indeed.
Meanwhile the old paint of the building’s past peels off wooden panels, the orginal brick walls are revealed to the world again, and an assortment of odd chairs and stools along the two open windows act as perching places while you sip your special single-blend coffee and watch the world go by.
There are a couple of tables on the footpaths which you can choose according to the position of the sun, the noise of the traffic and the random breezes.
So it’s in no sense traditional, glamorous or a hangout for Beautiful People, who are outnumbered by the eclectic population of this most interesting of suburbs who have decided this is the place to go for substance over style.
Almost everything is made on the premises with love, and it shows, but there’s no stinting on the presentation.
Our leek-and-potato soup of the day came in a lovely brown bowl on a big white plate, with crunchy sourdough.
It was almost thick enough to be called a stew, and it was up there with the best homemade soup I’ve ever eaten – and so much of it that at $6 it would make a full meal for a starving student, or food writer.
The menu’s not extensive – there are two categories called simply Breakfast and Sandwiches Until Sold Out, with a display cabinet of salads and cakes.
The breakfast menu has no cut-off time, and the organic spelt toast with avocado salsa and slow-roast tomato is equally appropriate for lunch ($7.50), while I could eat their savoury mince ($9.50) at any time of day.
It was made with real steak mince and not padded out with frozen vegetables or packet gravy, but had feta crumbled through it and plenty of roasted tomato, and they offered slices of buttered toast when we asked for them at no extra cost.
The brioche with mushrooms roasted in butter and goats cheese was another bargain at $9.50, and the most expensive dish, for hearty appetites only, is the baked free-range eggs on house-baked beans, and warm toast soldiers for a comforting $11.50.
Get there early enough to ensure that your favourite sandwich hasn’t sold out – mine is the hoisin duck wrap of which I got the last one ($9), filled with healthy, crunchy cucumber, carrot and fresh herbs with mayo. One of my friends always goes for one stuffed full of wagyu silverside, pickles, New York coleslaw and Jarlsberg cheese ($8).
The cakes are pretty good, too, and if you still have room, or are extra greedy, a pigeon pair of a sticky Brownie and Blondie goes well with a hot chocolate or a fancy fruit juice from the fridge.
So if you’re out that way shopping for bargains at the outlet stores, make sure to drop in for a late breakfast or lunch that won’t cost the earth.”
Why not choose Lady Marmalade Cafe to cater your next function?
Image and text above courtesy of the Courier Mail Review by Alison Cotes