At Perry Lane, Paddington (The Secret Weekend Cafe!)

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*This cafe is now closed*

"Morning Lorraine! Have you been to ...at Perry Lane in Paddington? I grabbed coffee there on Sat & it was packed-wld love to hear your take!" said the lovely MsUnreliable from That Unreliable Girl in her twitter message to me. Upon further reading I find out that it's bit of a local's secret cafe in a little laneway cafe that's only open as a cafe on Fridays and weekends so I immediately put it in the black Moleskine. One Sunday I had a meeting with a girl called Piglet and At Perry Lane it was. And little did I know that there would be Tarot reading involved...

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Approaching it, it is indeed a hidden away cafe at the back of the Oxford Shop on Oxford Street in Paddington. It's a multi level space with the kitchen set lower and chairs and tables set on three levels. I sneak upstairs as it's busy and nab an empty table. I look down and a few minutes later there's a smiling face looking up at me which I later learn to be the owner Chris. At Perry Lane is run by Chris, his mum and his partner all doing the cooking, coffee and waitering duties and on weekdays the space is hired out for fashion shows, events and commericals as well as Tarot and Jewellery reading. But more on that later!

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He shows me the menu and explains that it's a reduced size menu today as the chef is away and normally there are more complex choices but I am relieved to see that there is an all day breakfast available (you've got to love those fellow late risers in Paddington).  Prices are  reasonable with the most expensive item hitting the $16.50 mark with most around the $13-$14 mark. Teas are by T2 and coffee is by Campos and there's a selection of several types of breads from a kalamata olive roll to a rye sourdough as well as gluten free bread (although they are out today). Piglet chooses the Proscuitto, two poached eggs and asparagus on kalamata olive bread and I choose the French Toast with bacon, banana and maple syrup.

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Cappucino $3.50

The coffee is that uber rich and heady blend that Sydney siders clamour for. I'd love a little more foam on my cappucino but the coffee is fantastic-rich and with that unmistakable Campos flavour.

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French Toast with Bacon, Banana and maple syrup $12.50

My French toast is two pieces of long, slightly chewy toast, dipped in egg with a small pot of real, thick maple syrup and some bacon. Given I'm a bacon lover (ok yes a bacon glutton) I'd prefer a bit more bacon to it but the real maple syrup eases my bacon anxiety.

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Proscuitto, two poached eggs and asparagus on kalamata olive bread $13.50

I didn't try it, but Piglet's eggs look great and she says that they're delicious.

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Devonshire tea $8

There's a nice surprise when Chris brings us a Devonshire Tea "It's a nice sunny day and we made these so I thought I'd bring some up" he says. It's a comfortingly warm scone served with strawberry jam and clotted cream. I've spoken of how I am a bit of a cream nazi and insist on clotted over whipped or double cream with scones so I'm very pleased by the details. Despite my full stomach, I cannot resist a warm scone with these accompaniments and it disappears over my tastebuds and into my contented stomach.

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And what of the other four days in the week where it's not a cafe? On Wednesday and Thursday Chris's mum Gillian conducts tarot and jewellery readings and beauty treatments. I'm fascinated by tarot and jewellery reading and readily accept their offer for a reading and return a few days later, with my most treasured piece of jewellery (wedding ring and engagement ring) for Gillian to read. She's a warm, friendly presence and while I shuffle the cards she takes my rings and reads them. Gillian was a tarot card reader at Bateau Bay's famous Aspirations Cafe.

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Gillian reading my rings and the cards

The reading is fascinating and I shuffle the cards a total of three times having the cards read after each shuffle as well as shuffling another set and having that set read. I am a believer but my husband is a sceptic who said to me prior that I "should give no reactions on my face in case you give away clues". There are some real insights and although I'm the least Poker faced person I know, I never thought that she was reading my reactions and tailoring her answers to me or trying to guess my answers or even applying very general statements to me. There were some very insightful and accurate things that and would only apply to me. Upon later reflection a couple of things that didn't appear correct or relevant at the time began to make more sense when I realised who she was talking about.

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She explains that she can do this for groups of up to five people and that these can be booked on Wednesday and Thursday evenings too.  I immediately think of four other girlfriends that I want to take here who would love the idea of sipping champagne (not too much though, that can affect your reading ;) ) and nibbling on cakes or canapes.

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Yes I got the Death Card! But it just means the end of something :)

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But I also got the Star Card which is a positive card for dreams and wishes!

So tell me Dear Reader, how do you feel about tarot readings? Are you a believer like me or a sceptic like Mr NQN?

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Chris from At Perry Lane

At Perry Lane

Rear, 264 Oxford St, Paddington

Tel: +61 (02) 8354 1222

Open: Friday-Saturday 8am-5pm, Sunday 9am-5pm

Tarot readings: 1/2 hour reading $45, with canapes $55 approximately. 1 hour $80. Head & Neck massage $20. Manicure with Paraffin Wax $28, Pedicure with Paraffin wax $38. Available on Wednesdays and Thursdays only.

*This cafe is now closed*

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