My cousins and I give each other titles similar to royalty that claim a special skill/talent. Actually it’s not like royalty because this title is not a birthright…it is earned. For example I have the title of being the baby whisperer. I have this knack of getting kids on planes to like me or stop them from crying. Exhibit A is 4 year old Ryan on the long haul flight from LA to Sydney back when I was 16 who laughed at all my jokes. However, my title is on the line with my cousin Nat winning the affections of a 2 year old on our recent flight to Sydney. I also have stolen the title of beach person from my cousin Nen by going to the beach every day for 2 weeks but she took my title of being the person that attracts free stuff. So as you can tell these titles are taken seriously, you work hard to claim them. So what does this have to do with treating? Well as my followers would know by now my cousins and I meet regularly for breakfasts before work. We take turns deciding where to go. This time round Nen decided we be daring and branch out to Crown Perth for a buffet breakfast at Atrium. So not only do we have to wake up an extra thirty minutes early we are also competing for the title of the best buffet person. The criteria includes how many laps you can do, how much of your plate you actually eat and how many different food combinations you can make. My problem is I fill my plate to the brim and pick at things and only eat what I like. Most things on my plate have only one bite taken out of them. For my first lap I did the traditional scrambled eggs, bacon, mushrooms and hash brown along with some random breakfast options like steamed fish, roasted vegetables and glazed ham. The fish was discarded quite early on…my mind couldn’t comprehend fish for breakfast. The ham made me feel like it was Christmas again but it is no match to the wonderful glazed ham efforts of my Aunty Georgette and the Nigella inspired ham that my friend Nush made for Thanksgiving 2012. I was disappointed that for the premium price you pay for this buffet that poached eggs are not an option. They do make an omelette in front of your eyes but for a majority of the time this was left unattended so I didn’t benefit from this. Another criticism is that they only offer percolated coffee. You have to pay $5 extra for your standard cappuccino/flat white options. You could end up out of pocket by $45 for breakfast. It’s not the best way to start the day. Round 2 I tried the Asian offerings like gai lan, dumplings and stir fried noodles. I’m not afraid of such savoury options around 10am dim sum time but at 7am I was struggling. This round was left mainly on the plate. After the overwhelming savoury options I went for sweets in Round 3. Think waffles, hot cakes, pastries and fruit. The highlight for me was the snail raisin pastry. It was light and crunchy. The hotcakes were slightly cold…unlike the freshly made ones you get at a Hyatt High Tea buffet. Same issue with the waffles. The strawberries were out of season and sour. Overall, the Atrium breakfast buffet has a lot of options. Maybe too many because the execution and quality isn’t always there. It’s that small attention to detail that can raise a buffet from ordinary to exciting and worth the premium price. Would I go back to a buffet before work? No. I should have learnt my lesson after the Miss Maud experience (see Treat 31). But my philosophy is at first you don’t succeed pick yourself up and try it again…and again. I was wrecked for the rest of the day. I think I was in a food coma that required intensive care (a nap) rather than work. Congratulations to my cousin Nen for her five laps of the buffet tables and for scraping her plates clean rather than my poor attempt. I also liked what she did with her pancakes…great choice with the berries. She has officially been crowned the Buffet Queen of the cousins (well between Nat and I at least). If you have time on your hands (before work is not recommended) and want to enjoy breakfast at a leisurely pace with a variety of options then head down to the Atrium buffet at Crown Perth. It is a guaranteed food coma especially with a title up for grabs you will be doing a lot of laps to win. Yes the competitive Monica (from Friends) in me comes out and a buffet becomes a competition. Except I lost…I don’t how to feel. I’ll have to steal back my getting things for free title from Nen or my baby whisperer title from Nat.
THE FOOD JOURNEY
The sweet round – shame about the sour strawberries
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Tagged Atrium, bacon, buffet, coffee, Crown Perth, danish, dim sum, eggs, pancakes, pastries, roasted vegetables, sausage, scrambled eggs, strawberries, waffles
I am currently crushing on the Tuckshop in Northbridge mainly because of its delicious coffee. From the first time my eyes saw the silky top of my cappuccino I was in love. Tuckshop use a Toby’s Estate blend and each coffee I have consumed has not disappointed. In terms of the tucker, Tuckshop is famous for its pies. Now my first try was the vegetarian curry pie, which didn’t set my heart on fire. I ate it like a curry instead of a pie BUT the chicken pie won me back and I can’t wait to eat it again. The pastry was flaky and the insides creamy and warming perfect for a winter brunch. Instead of overcoming to food envy from my pancake eating friends, I shared the pie so that I left room for pancakes. Great decision. The berry pancakes were accompanied with the most delicious vanilla bean mascarpone. I am not embarrassed to admit that I scraped the plate on this one. The only complaint was that I wish there was more then the two pieces of pancake on the plate. Tuckshop gets a B+ closing on an A for service. The minor hiccup at my recent brunching was they forgot the coffees. This was made up to us with an apple and rhubarb crumble tart and lamington all made in house as their way of apologising. If only all apologies involved food, there would be more forgiveness in this world. I have already forgiven and forgotten and am thinking of an excuse to go back there soon to eat me some pie.
THE FOOD JOURNEY
The chicken pie is a cracker!
A special mention to the vanilla bean mascerpone that takes these pancakes from great to awesome.
I know I just wrote a treat today but while the juices are still flowing and the food experiences of my Sydney trip are still fresh I will keep treating. So it’s no secret I love brunch, I plan walks with friends around lakes just so I can get my poached eggs at the end. The walk is non-compulsory but the brunch is a must. I will state now my favourite brunch place in Perth is… drumroll please… Sayers in Leederville. Why? Because whatever you order you can’t make at home. Plus they give you poached eggs with everything and if there’s one thing I love about brunch the most it’s poached eggs. So in Sydney there was many occasions for brunch. First stop Bills in Darlinghurst owned by celebrity chef Bill Granger who I admit I don’t know much about but my friend Kirsty has his book and she says it has a good baking section. The menu at Bills has an all-day breakfast so already he’s a winner in my eyes BUT here comes the scary part. They don’t do poached eggs – I repeat – they don’t do poached eggs. So after walking from the city down Liverpool Street to Darlingurst (when the Bills on Crown Street in Surry Hills would have been closer and less hilly) I came to the realisation that I had to have my eggs scrambled. I overcome my worst fear and had my eggs scrambled and enjoyed what was a simple and very filling breakfast. Another brunch experience is a family favourite introduced to me by my cousins and friends for having the best pancakes ever – and the winner is Pancakes on the Rocks. I have been to 2 of the franchises – Darling Harbour and Northmead and either one you go to once you order the Banarama you are onto a winner. On a personal note I like to make mine healthier by ordering strawberries and a scoop of chocolate ice cream for the antioxidants. I tried being super healthy once and getting the pancakes with the walnuts and bananas but that was too walnutty – it had maybe half a kilo of them. Where next on this brunching tour of Sydney – well here’s an unorthodox twist – is 10am too early for macarons and amazing looking desserts? Absolutely not, plus if you don’t get in early you miss out (like my friend Kirsty who rocked up at 3pm to see a lonely loaf of bread – sorry Kirst is it too soon?) Who am I talking about? Adriano Zumbo’s patisserie in Balmain of course. I took my cousins there after arriving at 7am in Sydney and we went straight there. We bought a selection of pizzas, pasteries and macarons and enjoyed them at the park nearby on what was a sunny day. The pizza blew our socks off – the pumpkin and pesto flavour was insane and unexpected. Here I was thinking it was all dessert we’d be eating and it was the savoury that walked away as prize favourite. The pasteries were also sensational and the random macaron flavours can impress or distress. Flavours like wasabi and black sesame may have one scratching their heads, a recent flavour rice pudding had me puzzled but one bite and the texture of rice took me back to childhood and my mum’s riz-bhaleeb (Lebanese rice pudding). A special mention to the coffee creme brulee and raspberry shortbread flavours. On this most recent Sydney trip my friends and I went back to the Balmain store and enjoyed the wonderful offerings again of Zumbo to a busy Sydney line where people were spending in the $100s. Here’s a hot tip! Zumbo’s macarons are cheaper and tastier than the Lindt macarons – so do yourself a favour embrace the randomness of Zumbo and don’t fall for the trap of the Swiss Chocolatiers (don’t tell them I said that because I really love Lindt chocolate). Now I want to get back to my favourite brunch topic – poached eggs! On the windy, cloudy and stormy Sunday where the Melbourne Storm weren’t playing but Manly and Warriors were for the NRL Grand Final (sorry Sydney-siders I still struggle to use the word footy for rugby league) we headed to Bondi for a swim. As if! We went to Bondi for Sunday brunch because it sounded like a good idea at the time. Even Bondi agreed with the wind blowing us towards the restaurants and away from the breach. My friends and I went to Nikos on the main strip where I have been with my cousins previously and had a scrumptious breakfast. The team of us (all three) ordered the exact same thing – flat white, poached eggs with spinach, mushroom, hash brown and tomato as sides. The table next to us had this impressive mocha with melted chocolate and I had drink envy while I sipped my flat white. The poached eggs were overcooked for my liking, I usually like mine runny but I won’t fault the place because they had them spot on the last time I was there. There’s a How I Met your Mother episode when Marshall goes on bromance brunch dates – I can relate brunch is such a relaxing and fun thing to do with friends and I will continue to make pretend exercise date with friends so I can brunch. I also will make a shout out to Kirsty’s brunch day when she had a few of us girls over to a feast of bircher muesli, eggs benedict and home-made pastries (she even made the puff pastry) with evidence in the photos attached. I contributed by supplying the flowers on the table (well that’s my dad’s contribution – thanks dad!) What have I proven in this treat – I love brunch but that was no secret anyway. So really you haven’t learnt anything except that macarons are a breakfast group and exercise is not compulsory to indulge in brunch activities.
THE FOOD JOURNEY
Perfectly acceptable brunch food.
Do yourself a favour and try the vegetarian pizza..you can thank me later.
This has dairy in it….just like what you’d pour in cereal…same same but different.
Bananarama….you can never go wrong.
Devil’s delight….is delightful without the devil.
Black Forest pancakes….yes it really exists.
Home-made pastries…inspired by the French brunch.
Poached eggs….Bill Granger seriously how can you not have poached eggs on your menu?
Home-made bircher muesli