Sydney's mantra is undoubtedly "Location, location, location!" such is our twin obsessions with property and waterviews. I was put onto the Thelma & Louise cafe by loyal reader Caz and when I saw the location was alongside a wharf, it was a no brainer. I checked the weather for the upcoming long weekend Saturday and we were rearing to go.
So it seems was much of Sydney for we were greeted with a line snaking out onto the street when we approached the cafe. Cars stopped and stylish young things craned their necks out to see what sort of queue had formed and drove off when the challenge and wait looked too daunting. Couples came and went after asking about the wait whilst some got takeaway coffees and food. One crowd of four women are apologetic when they tell us they have a booking and go to the head of the queue. We stood our ground (well I did, Mr NQN went to sit down on the bench and take photos). You see I was starving and was determined to nab one of the prized tables out on the balcony perched right above the lapping waves. I didn't know how I was going to get it - after all the line in front and behind me suggested that I would be lucky to get _any _table I could.
I watched and I waited. The seated patrons would occasionally glance our way and then look away and drink their wine. I picked up a copy of the paper as I felt too stalkerish staring them down having already checked out the cafe's interior. It's full of trinkets and retro items as well as a clock stuck permanently on 6.43. There's a billy cart filled with flowers suspended from the ceiling and black and white photographs of Jean Harlow and Bette Davis. To the right is a small square shaped kitchen where two women (Thelma and Louise?) tend to the palates of the folks of Neutral Bay. After waiting 30 minutes, a couple on the balcony leave and the waitress ushers us through with a smile. We have finally landed a table on the balcony and breathe a sigh of relief.
Breakfast is served until 12 noon but as it's 2.30pm we're choosing from the Winter Lunch Menu. Items sound warming and we choose the Seafood Linguine and the Spicy lamb mince with Zaatar Turkish bread as we're both seeking pure comfort food on this slightly chilly Winter's day. A coffee is ordered for Mr NQN but a Babycino is ordered for me. I know I'm not a child but Your Honour this one comes with marshmallows and after all fits the theme of comfort food.
Service is said to be pushy, rude and or scatty according to eatability but there's none of that today. In fact all 3 waitresses that we encounter are absolutely pleasant and full of "Yes madames" and smiles. Perhaps that has been an improvement. We receive our drinks, and the coffee is good but the babycino is mostly foam and is lukewarm which may be in fact the norm for babycinos to avoid burning the mouths of babes. I'm not a connoisseur.
Our meals arrive and the serving sizes are very generous. The seafood linguine is piled high and topped with mussels, squid, vongole clams and king prawns. The tomato and basil sauce is deliciously garlicky and seasoned perfectly. Mr NQN enjoys this immensely as it's sizeable and has a decent amount of seafood in it.
My spicy lamb mince with toasted Turkish bread dusted with Zaatar is delicious. Lamb mince always has that comforting, slightly floury texture and the serving of this is enormous and I can only finish half of it (and I had skipped breakfast in order to come here). It's not spicy hot though with the spices coming from the aromatics used so if you're seeking heat you may want to ask for some Tabasco or the chili to be upped in it.
Whilst waiting for Mr NQN to demolish the contents of my bowl and his I wander up to the sweets counter and order a walnut cookie dusted in icing sugar and a coconut flower cupcake. Both aren't bad although the cupcake is a touch dry although it does look spectacularly pretty.
We leave and are pleased. Me for having come across this secret little gem (thanks Caz!) that could easily have been turned into a $40+ main restaurant because of _that _view and my husband because for once he's left a cafe with a full tummy.
And in some rather exciting news, I was quoted in the Sunday Life magazine's Food Issue this past Sunday! Click the image below to read what they said. It's brief but I am excited nevertheless!
I have also updated my About Me page to include more photos and information :)
P.S. If you haven't had a chance to do so, I'd be ever so pleased if you could fill in the Not Quite Nigella survey. There's a chance to win 1 of 3 Nigella Lawson aprons! :)
Thelma & Louise
Shop 1/1 Hayes Street, Neutral Bay, NSW
Tel: +61 (02) 9953 7754
Open 7 days 8am-5pm
10% weekend surcharge
Corkage $2.50 per person
Visa and Mastercard accepted, $20 minimum. Reservations strongly recommended.