Frappe Cafe Bar, Concord

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Omelettes! Frappes! Poached eggs! Labneh! Ha, that last one surprised you, didn't it? There's only one meal I can be talking about.. And it doesn't begin with a D or an L. It's breakfast!

What excites me so much about breakfast is not that my stomach hasn't seen food in 10+ hours (although that may be a major factor...), but the prospect of breakfast being a meal that gives me something to look forward to when I get up and give me energy for the rest of the day. I find it quite inconceivable that one can get up in the morning and not even consider having breakfast. As the cliche goes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day!

At home breakfast is a simple affair, but whenever I go out for breakfast or brunch, it's either go hard or go home. As in, I tend to order things that I wouldn't usually make or eat at home. It's not that I don't like the simple things - I love me a piece of avocado toast - but breakfast needn't be a meal that is the same week to week, especially when you make the effort to go somewhere to eat it!

Frappe Cafe and Bar recently opened in Concord late last year, but it's not among the many cafes and eateries scattered on busy Majors Bay Road. Instead it's situated further away from the buzz and business, secluded on a long, narrow shop front opposite a round about. And it's this peaceful, quieter location that adds to the charm of the cafe, which also has branches in Earlwood and Crows Nest.


Most of the seating is outside, fronted by a wooden wall that doubles as a privacy barrier from the cars zooming past outside, directing a cool breeze that is welcomed as we eat. One end of the area is backed by a leafy green wall, and the small interior houses a few tables, an open kitchen and a counter overhang by dim, bare globe lights and innovative silver tubing that opens at the bottom to reveal an amusing line of takeaway coffee cups.

The menu has a heavy Greek influence, with lunch offerings such as Spanakopita, grilled octopus, Souvlaki and Moussaka. As well as the typical brunch menu items - Big Breakfast, Bacon and Eggs and French Toast, the breakfast menu lists mouth-watering dishes like labneh, walnuts and mint on toast and pancakes with lemon ricotta and a scoop of ice cream. For breakfast? Why not?

Tropical Frappe and Watermelon Frappe ($8 each)

The cafe's tell-tale name makes it an obligation that we try their Frappes. At $8 each, they're not the cheapest Frappes around, but they are big. A Tropical Frappe is sunny yellow with Banana, Mango and Pineapple. It's thick and refreshing and perfect for a hot Summer's day. A Watermelon Frappe is icy and cool, it doesn't look as heavy as the fruit-laden tropical version.

Chai Latte ($4.50)

I'm thinking that the Chai Latte is my new Hot Chocolate (you must know that I don't drink coffee and that Hot Chocolate used to always be my go-to hot drink. Used to be.) A lovely froth feathered with cinnamon floats atop a hot chai latte. It's a well-spiced chai with sugar on the side.

Breakfast Vegie Stack ($16.90)

This is what I mean when it's go hard or go home. 2 poached eggs, chunky roast tomato, whole baby mushrooms, sauteed baby spinach and a thick layer of smashed avocado balance teeter on a thick slice of sourdough, drizzled with a pale, yellow Hollandaise sauce. Almost the breakfast of champions, sans bacon. The creamy hollandaise brought all the different components together nicely - no longer may the sauce be confined only to the name of Benedict. The baby mushrooms had a delicate flavour, not as full or robust as the larger capped variety - perfect for the dish, which was a big breakfast in itself. I must confess that this was the first time I'd ever tried Hollandaise sauce. I never knew how much I was missing out on.

Omelette ($12.90)

The Omelette arrives in an attractive cast iron pan atop an on-trend wooden board, not an omelette as such but a jumble of 'scrambled' eggs skewed with double smoked ham, baby spinach, sauteed onions and chunks of roasted tomato. I really enjoyed liked the texture of the eggs, it almost resembled a cross between a frittata, omelette and scrambled eggs. And if that wasn't enough to fill a hungry tummy, a side of thick sourdough smeared with butter will satisfy any carb cravings.

Village Toast ($12)

This 'toast' oozes Middle Eastern flair: tangy dollops of labneh, mint leaves and candied walnuts strewn atop 4 quarters of charred, toasted pita, with globs of fresh honey swirled on top. Both the heavy-handed swirling of honey and the sugar-coated walnuts provided an abundance of sweetness that overwhelmed the dish, which could have been balanced out by the addition of a few more mint leaves. The pita was toasted to a nice chewiness - not too hard and crunchy, and not soft. It was the sweet-lover's ultimate breakfast dessert, although not one that I think suited my sugar-averted tastebuds.

Pancakes (w/ vanilla ice cream and butterscotch sauce $13.50)

One helluva stack of pancakes this was! It was pleasing to see such a generous portion size of 4 gigantic, deep golden pancakes sitting under a scoop of vanilla ice cream, which melted attractively into a pool of amber butterscotch sauce. These were light and fluffy; another topping of lemon ricotta and berry compote may be swapped for the sugar-laden ice cream and butterscotch if one fancied. 

With the plethora of cafes popping up in Concord, Frappe distances itself from others (not just literally) with it's fresh, Mediterranean-inspired menu and diversification into dinner at night. Share plates, a dessert menu and bar licence, as well as offerings of pasta, melts and burgers, transform the cafe into a buzzing restaurant by dark, and judging by the large number of patrons I've glimpsed eating there the multiple times I've passed by, it'll be a busy cafe and bar for a while to come.


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