Mascot's Tartine serves up French style open sandwiches out of a charming and eclectically designed cafe on Gardeners Road. Former fine dining chef Anthony Telford and his partner Amy Kirchoff have designed a welcoming space with nothing on the menu above $10. Tartine toppings include Chicken, mayonnaise, fennel pollen, fat rocket on sourdough; shredded beef, crispy onions, gruyere, chives or pulled pork, parsley, chives with each batch of coleslaw freshly made.
Tartine: [tahr-teen; French tar-teen] noun
- a fancy French open-faced sandwich topped with spreadable ingredients.
- a piece of bread spread with butter, jam, etc.
"It rains every Easter," Mr NQN said slightly mournfully, his morning cycle ride cut short with the onset of a steady downpour of rain. Indeed, if the past few years are anything to go by, Easter is definitely not the time for weddings. It was Easter Saturday and as all Saturdays tend to be, they are a mix of shopping, low level home repairs for the incompetent home renovator (oh hang on, that's just us) and gathering items for the next week ahead. We had just finished shopping at the markets and I suddenly realised that I was very hungry indeed. It was 1:30pm and I had missed breakfast.
"Maybe I can get something from the Ikea cafe," I mused picturing Swedish meatballs with sauce. "Or maybe we can try this new place that I was recommended," I suggest as I loathe a missed opportunity for a blog post. It was a recommendation from @tonyhollingsworth, a twitter friend who had written about Tartine on his facebook page. He had waxed rhapsodic about their tartines (open faced toasted sandwiches). As it was in Mascot, it was on our way to Ikea so we swung by. It would be rude not to (and really I was really hungry and it was closer).
Located underneath office and apartment spaces, it's an inviting looking spot with indoor and outdoor seating. And unlike some parts of Alexandria, there's plenty of parking with a small car park on site, street parking or the Bunnings just opposite the road. Owners and partners Anthony Telford and Amy Kirchoff furnished much of the cafe in the short space of four weeks using up-cycled and re-purposed furniture from Reverse Garbage and The Bower in Marrickville. "With a family of 11, there's not a lot of spare money around," Amy explained. Yep that is seven kids for Anthony and four for Amy! Amy looks after the floor while Anthony, the ex head chef of Public Dining Room and alum from several television cooking shows brings his French fine dining training to cafe casual food.
Given that the menu is made up of mostly tartines (along with jaffles and other bits and pieces), the music has a French theme. We sink into the couches and take a look at the menu. I do a double take. Nothing is over $10 so they've got value nailed already. We order a jaffle and two tartines. The bread and the sweet tarts and cakes in the display are by Brasserie Bread but the rest is made in-house.
Chai latte $4
It's a bit late in the day otherwise I would have ordered one of the Caphe sua nong (Vietnamese iced coffee) or a Cafe Bombon (Spanish coffee made with condensed milk). I go for a chai latte and it's is cute with a bunny themed decoration and just the right amount of sweetness.
Chicken, mayonnaise, fennel pollen, fat rocket on sourdough $9.90
As everything is made to order including the coleslaw, we settle into the lounge and relax. The pattering rain outside means that we are in no hurry at all to move. Our food arrives at the same time and the tartines are cut into six pieces. I am an absolute fiend for a chicken and mayonnaise sandwich and this one is full of tender chicken breast, creamy mayonnaise, fennel pollen that lifts it without overwhelming it and spicy wild rocket on a lightly toasted slice of sourdough.
Pulled pork, coleslaw, parsley, chives sourdough $9.90
The pulled pork tartine is similarly moreish. Again the tartine has a good balance of topping and bread so that it is crispy but never dry. The pulled pork sits underneath a freshly made serve of crunchy coleslaw.
A jaffle stuffed with lasagne. The End. $9.90
And then there's the lasagna stuffed jaffle. This is X-Rated carb on carb action designed to give you a Kardashian-like posterior but it's oh so good. And yep it's just that, a jaffle stuffed with a lasagna.
Shredded beef, crispy onions, gruyere, chives $9.90
After all of this hot and sweaty jaffle action, I decided to order another couple of things. Just because Mr NQN was still ravenous although I was approaching satiety. And the shredded beef with crispy onions and melted gruyere is just the antidote to rainy weather. The jaffle is filled with melting, tender beef and I can see myself craving this when the weather gets really cold.
French onion shredded beef tartine $9.90
"Can you eat something else?" I asked Mr NQN who simply nodded happily. For someone who claims to be gluten intolerant (he isn't, he just doesn't like dry bread and with a family with specific food preferences, he doesn't want to be left out) he is certainly hoovering up the food. So one last savoury tartine was ordered. The gruyere here is liberally shaved on top and more cheesy as a result. It's rich and filling and the beef is generously portioned here. Although you might think that it is an open sandwich, they really are quite sizeable and filling (and you don't even have to have ridden hundreds of kilometres like Mr NQN! ;) ).
I know how disappointed you get when we don't order dessert Dear Reader, so we couldn't leave without trying a sweet offering. There are a few sweets on the menu and apart from the tarts and small cakes in the display there are sweet tartines as well as sweet jaffles. But we go for something sans bread. It's a bowl with bruleed bananas, split in half, whipped cream and a round scoop of freshly made dulce de leche topped with crumbs. And yes despite everything that we had eaten, not a skerrick of this creamy, sweet concoction goes back to the kitchen.
It's just what we need before we embark on our home repair adventure!
So tell me Dear Reader, what do your Saturdays consist of? And do you prefer your fillings on a tartine or within a jaffle? And how about the carb on carb action in the lasagna jaffle - would that be your sort of thing? And if you eat out for brunch, how much do you typically expect to pay per person? Is value a big thing for you at brunch?
This meal was independently paid for.
635 Gardeners Road, Mascot NSW 2020
Tel: +61 (02) 9700 9847
Mon - Fri: 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
Sat: 8:00 am - 3:00 pm
Sun: 9:00 am - 3:00 pm