My sister has just moved into a new bachelorette pad in Maylands, so a visit to her place on a sunny Sunday to become acquainted with her new home necessitated a visit to one of the many cute cafes in the Eighth Ave precinct. We walked on down there to see what was happening, and when presented with a sizeable queue at Mrs S. we decided our tummies couldn’t wait that long, and wandered on down to the slightly less busy Chapels on Whatley. I hadn’t been in here before, but immediately decided that I liked in when I walked in. The decor is reminiscent of an oriental tea house, with well trodden wooden floors, exposed brick walls and exposed rafters on the high ceilings. Lots of pretty artwork adorns the walls, along with some antique plates and parasols. When we visited in this late November afternoon, the Christmas decorations were also out in full force, and everything was looking delightfully festive!
Deciding to make ourselves at home out in the courtyard to take advantage of the sunshine, we settled down amongst the foliage and lanterns.
A friendly waiter came over quickly enough, equipped with menus and information about the specials of the day. The breakfast choices were really varied, with all the usual breakfast options along with some more interesting fare such, like kim chi pancakes and a rice vermicelli omelette. As good as everything sounded. I couldn’t go past the special of the day, the homestyle claypot – beans with Chinese spiced pulled pork, a poached egg and fried mantou buns for $22.95 – hello Sunday morning! Although worried about being boring, Jocelyn decided to keep things traditional and indulge in some eggs benedict, with Chapels version of this dish consisting of poached eggs and ham on a bagel with asparagus and hollandaise. I assured her that you can never go wrong with a classic, especially when that classic includes hollandaise! Coming in at $20.50, this one one of the pricier eggs benedict in town, particularly as it didn’t even come with salmon. Lucky for Jocelyn, it was my turn to pay!
Despite the reputation that Chapels has for tea, I was in need of a caffeine hit, so I ordered a flat white in a mug. When it came out, I thought that perhaps they should have advertised it as being served in a bowl – it was huuuuugee! Taking my first sips, I thought that it was fairly reasonable coffee – not outstanding, but not terrible. Perhaps I should have guessed, being in a place so well known for its tea choices.
Jocelyn’s chai latte was a much more reasonable size, and by all accounts was a pleasant blend of spices, although I didn’t try it.
All feelings of disappointment that I was experiencing due to my coffee choices disappeared once my food came out!
What a meal – those beans were so flavoursome, with the perfect balance of tomato and spices clearly distinguishing them from any sauce that has ever been anywhere near a can. The spiced pulled pork was soft, tender, juicy and so plentiful, and accompanied by those mantou buns – just wow! Fresh out of the oven, when I first picked them up a doughy smell overwhelmed my senses, and breaking one in half there was a satisfying crack as the crispy out layer broke open to reveal the softest, fluffiest inside. Last but not least, that all important egg was perfectly cooked, the yolk oozing out on to the pork when prodded with the fork.
Needless to say, heaping spoonfuls of this delicious combination onto the mantou buns and wrapping my mouth around it all sent me into breakfast heaven.
While Jocelyn’s dish did not disappoint, although I think anything else that could have been served up would have paled in comparison to the feast on my side of the table. The ham was thick and tasty, and you certainly could not complain about not having enough hollandaise – the eggs were almost swimming in it! This was a pretty top notch hollandaise, hitting the right notes in terms of buttery goodness and that all important lemon tang, but if you weren’t such a fan of this rich sauce so much of it might have been a little much. As it was, it was probably only a couple of spoonfuls off overwhelming the dish. But hey, at least we got our $$ worth!
We had planned on having some tea after breakfast, but our tummies were well and truely full, and there was a queue forming at the door, so we decided to be on our way. After paying at the counter, we stopped to admire all the fine china that you can purchase – Royal Albert, Wedgewood and others in every pattern that your pretty little floral heart could desire is for sale here.
I am glad there was a queue at Mrs S. (as much as a I still love it there!) as it gave us a chance to check out quirky little cafe. There is something on the menu for everyone, from the more adventurous eastern inspired dishes to your everyday breakfast staples, along with every variety of tea imaginable available for your drinking pleasure. The staff are very friendly, and if the pulled pork and mantou buns are still on the menu when you go – DO IT!