NQN readers are wonderful people. I've said this several times and some comments and emails really make me chuckle. Take for instance Kristy who sent me a photo of a fancy pants foil swan when I queried whether people get doggie bags. Another reader Anne recently sent me recommendation (and thankyou for all of you that do, I will get to all of them one day!) to go to Bitton Gourmet in Alexandria. It's a place that we pass every time we go to the Inner West or Newtown and one of those places where I always say to Mr NQN "Oh we should really go there!". Then one day Gina, who is now a lady of leisure, and I were deciding on where to go to lunch and I knew instantly where we should go. The only thing is that Gina and I are both directionally challenged and she doesn't know her way around the East and Inner West and I just can't remember the way exactly. We get there by sheer miracle with all of the road signs pointing our way.
We're seated outside and we get the menus. Our eyes widen and we coo "Oooh all day breakfast!" and we both agree to share an order of the poached eggs and a club sandwich. The menu items that have a Bitton product used in them are bolded.
The Grinders coffee is aromatic and silkily smooth without any bitterness at all. And you can order these in bowls too - how French! Speaking of French, the owner David Bitton comes out from the back and says hello. He uses that famous French charm on people.
Poached Eggs served with Black Forest Ham, Spinach, Potato Roesti and Hollandaise Sauce $18.50
Gina and I divide the poached eggs up and we're soon nodding at each other eyes wide murmuring "mmthisisyummmygood". The roesti comes as two discs of soft, shredded fried potato and there is wilted spinach, delicious Black Forest Ham and a sublime Hollandaise that dreams are made of. And whilst they make the Hollandaise sauce, they don't sell it. I asked. Twice.
Club Sandwich with Chicken, Bacon, Egg, Tomato, Homemade Mayonnaise and Coriander Pesto $16.90
The Club sandwich is spread with a chunky, nutty coriander pesto giving it an unusual Asian-ey flavour. It could do with a bit more mayo on the other side but it's nice and generously filled. We both wish that it came with French fries though.
Hand cut chips $6.90
We ordered these as you just need chips to go with a club sandwich and these taste and look just like home made hand cut wedges. They're slightly crispy on the outside and taste more baked than fried. I was more in the mood for skinnier, crispier chips to go with the club sandwich.
Rhubarb Crumble $9.50
We forego the crepes as Gina isn't a big crepe fan and go for the crumble instead. The rhubarb crumble is quite nice although it's not as fruity as a lot of the crumbles that I'm used to as it's more of a crumble pie. It is attractively presented with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, fresh berries, coulis and ice cream.
We go into the store and have a peek at the shop area. There's an area where you can amuse your kids with toys and a DVD player and our waitress tells us that come the weekend the back area will be full of parents and kids, whilst the people with pooches take the outside area and the centre area is for everyone else. There is a sample item of the day which today is Orange Jelly which is not like jam, it is runnier with an apple juice caramel flavour to it and is said to be good on roasts. There is monkey nut chutney which is full of nuts and they give us a sample of the strawberry and vanilla jam which is light in vanilla and a rather fascinating coconut and milk jam which I'd expect to be like a cross between cococnut kaya jam and dulce de leche but isn't anything like it. It's a viscous white jam with grains of coconut and the flavour of sweetened condensed milk.
So tell me Dear Reader, when you got to a cafe, do you prefer to sit inside or outside?
36-37a Copeland St, Alexandria NSW
Tel: +61 (02) 9519 5111 or 1300 BITTON
Monday & Tuesday, Saturday & Sunday: 7am to 5pm
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 7am to 9pm