Yesterday I found myself in Newtown after heading over to a fantastic fabric sale in St Anne's Hall.* I had dragged E along on the pretence of having breakfast somewhere in Newtown ("Oh, look, a fabric sale...! We can have a quick look... right?") and after a 'quick' look turned into nearly half an hour (yes, he was thrilled) both he and I were getting pretty desperate for food.
We popped into Baobab Cafe, where I'd been plenty of times for coffee and counter food but never for a full on meal. Like neighbouring Newtown cafe Pranah it's got sort of a natural, earthy vibe, relaxed and inviting, perfect for the weekend.
My peachy-hued banana and persimmon smoothie ($6) didn't taste too strongly of one or the other, but had a delicate hint of both fruits. I ordered it just because it sounded different and was delighted - I think it was the first time I've had persimmon in a smoothie, too.
Although I had set out intending to have breakfast food, I ended up ordering off the lunch menu, because come on, macadamia crusted baked goat's cheese ($13)? I couldn't resist. It came on two hot wedges of crispy polenta and a salad of fennel, rocket and parmesan. The nuttiness of the little chunks of macadamia was matched in the nutty parmesan and contrasted beautifully with the tangy goat cheese. And the textures in this dish! Crispy, crunchy, creamy: it was a celebration of contrasts.
The only thing I would have liked even more was if the cheese had been baked slightly longer to that almost-melting consistency, but it was wholly satisfying as it was.
E stuck to the breakfast menu, and was rewarded with these chocolate chip pancakes ($13) with feijoa and almond compote, maple syrup and whipped cream. These were so good (I kept sneaking bites). I almost never eat feijoas at home because they're one of those fruits I tell myself I don't like too much, but when I have them as part of a restaurant dish I'm suddenly all over them.** Needless to say I ate most of the compote (sorry, E!) but the pancakes themselves were beautiful, not too rich, a good balance of chocolate chip and pancake.
Baobab's menu has some refreshingly different offerings from your average cafe and we were both pleasantly surprised. Not pictured but worth mentioning: our coffees (a long black ($3) for me and a flat white ($3.80) for E) were good and they use Supreme's fair trade organic beans. Also, for a Saturday mid-morning it was busy, but not overwhelmingly so as some of the places in town can be on the weekend, and our food and drinks arrived in reasonable time. We'll be going back again for brunch/lunch, I think.
152 Riddiford St
(04) 380 0470
Open Mon-Fri 8am-5:30pm, Sat-Sun 9am-5:30pm
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*Not that I'm a pro with the sewing machine or anything, but I did get a couple lengths of nice fabric that'll be perfect for skirts... ooh!
**Like a while back, when my Mum and Dad were in town and I took them to Floridita's for breakfast... the vanilla-poached feijoas that topped my yoghurt were divine. I couldn't stop thinking about them for days.