Salted caramel doughnuts and decadent brownies had been at the back of my mind for a while now, while fried chicken with pancakes and maple syrup had been firmly at the forefront of my mind. These all consuming thoughts were taking up a lot of valuable head space, so on Wednesday morning I was willing to haul myself out of bed at 6am, jump on the 6.40 train then catch the bus up to Highgate for a 7.15 breakfast at Mary Street Bakery to partake in all the aforementioned foods. It was somewhat of a special occasion – one of my workmates that I work quite closely with is going on leave for a few weeks so I was willing to make the extra effort and travel so far before work. As I got off the bus, on which there was a disproportionate amount of people talking to themselves, I had to admire Mary Street Bakery in all of its gloriousness, covered in street art and effortlessly embodying the urban, hipster charm that Beaufort Street is known and loved for.
The cafe was looking particularly pretty inside today with its pink glow from the neon sign at the window complemented by a vase of pretty pink flowers. I wandered on in, bypassed the bigger tables in the first room, and down a couple of steps to the spacious second dining room.
The cafe is such a bright, open space, with clean lines, minimalist furnishings and windows spanning almost the entire length from floor to roof providing a plethora of beautiful natural light. The counter and coffee machine are semi-hidden away up a small staircase, and a second door around the side for those who want to order takeaway coffee means that the cafe floor remains a little more serene than it would otherwise be, given the demand for takeaway coffee’s and baked goods in the morning.
Although Sarah and Chloe joined me shortly after I arrived, I had already managed to order a flat white from the friendly waitress that greeted me as I walked in. Maybe it was the bags under my eyes, or maybe the desperation on my face, but I feel like she knew I needed a coffee ASAP. It came out smooth, creamy and just warmer than room temperature – just the way I like it. Although at 7.15 I would probably accept coffee whichever way it was given!
As we chatted away, I didn’t need long to look at the menu – all that was on my radar was that fried chicken! Chloe was on that bandwagon as well (and lets be honest, everyone should be), while Sarah showed a touch more restraint in ordering the gingerbread with strawberries, marscapone and pistachios. Ok, so maybe there wasn’t that much restraint there.
When the gingerbread materialised, it met all expectations. The gingerbread was light and fluffy, with a hefty bite of spicy ginger behind it. The warm toasted bread melted the marscapone a little, causing it to ooze around the edges in the most seductive of manners. Bright red strawberries and crunchy pistachio’s finished off this sugary breakfast treat, which despite its small size packed a big punch.
And then it was time for the long awaited pancakes (drumroll please).
Let me say this first up – I was under no pretence that this was legitimate breakfast food in any traditional sense, despite the egg placed on top. Maybe brunch at a stretch, but for any normal person it was in no way appropriate for 7.30 in the morning. Not wanting to adhere to preconceptions about what I should eat at what time of the day though, I chose the path of deliciousness and soldiered on with it. My commitment was worth it – the plentiful chicken was seasoned to perfection, crunchy upon biting in to it, and beautifully juicy and tender under all that batter. The pancake was impossibly fluffy, and did an excellent job of soaking up all that delicious, thick maple syrup that was drizzled everywhere. I didn’t think that the egg added too much to the dish, but it was certainly not an unwelcome addition, just neither here nor there for me. The coriander was fairly zingy on its own, though the taste got lost in all of the other flavours most of the time. There was an incredibly generous amount of chicken on this dish, and I finished it which did leave me feeling quite uncomfortably full afterwards. In a happy kind of way though.
After paying at the table, we wandered up to the counter to check out the baked goods, as we had a marathon meeting at work later that day that would require sustenance in the form of some serious sugar. Doughnuts were bought, brownies were bought, and christmas pudding was admired – I might have to drop by here in December and pick up some for the festive season. Mary Street Bakery needs to stop being so damn appealing, if anything for the sake of my waistline.
Breakfast at Mary Street Bakery was well worth waking up at 6am for – especially as it meant we avoided the weekend queues that are so prevalent at this Mount Lawley hotspot. A fantastic menu with some really interesting options that will challenge your idea of what breakfast should be, I suggest you get yourself over there and enjoy some great coffee and tasty food. Don’t forget a salted caramel doughnut (or three) on your way out!