"I don't know about you, but I think 9:30am is a bit early for ice cream" Jaqi whispers to me. She's probably right and her sage words tone down my puppy dog happiness at being offered ice cream with bananas on French toast early one morning.
We are at Gertrude & Petunia on Todman Avenue in Kensington. I recall driving past it one day and suddenly it was there in place of an Indonesian eatery that always seemed closed. It looked other worldly in amongst the suburban houses, all royal blue with French style chairs and tables. I think I even wiped my eyes fearing that I was seeing things.
The small cafe is pretty with ornate chairs with padded velvet seats and gilt coloured tables. The key is nabbing a table. We first sat on a table inside and we moved as another table left. There is Bing Crosby singing Christmas tunes and service is very friendly.
Teas are by Taylors of Harrogate and coffee is by Campos. We both love tea so we choose two black teas: a China Rose, strong in rose scent and a Christmas spice given the season. The latter is infused with lemon, orange peel, clove, cardamom and a range of other spices.
The French toast arrives in a flash. It is two pieces of buttery soft egg dipped and fried brioche covered with a generous amount of creamy ricotta and a large serving of strawberries. On top of this is a drizzle of honey. It's enormous and delicious, the buttery brioche really making the French toast something special.
I'm relieved that I could take Mr NQN here given how large the dishes are. This breakfast has four pieces of thickish white toast, half an avocado, slices of tomato and ricotta and a soft centered boiled egg. It's simple, savoury, wholesome and what you might eat at home.
Given that it is around 11am we decide that it is morning tea time so we choose some sweets. There are samples of their almond topped pound cake which is tempting along with their brownie but sometimes I just have a hankering for a classic vanilla slice and this was one of those times. One year I even had 9 vanilla slices joined together for a birthday cake. The vanilla slice is excellent - all cakes and pastries are baked at their big sister business The French House in Waterloo. The pastry is crisp and caramelised and the vanilla creme patisserie is smooth and creamy.
Jaqi's choice is a strawberry tart. The base is buttery and crisp and the vanilla custard filling and strawberries is generously portioned so that you get plenty of everything in a mouthful.
It's getting close to 12noon and the tables fill up even more and people start to wait for our table. It's time to hit the road and do some more Christmas shopping!
So tell me Dear Reader, would you eat ice cream for breakfast?
Gertrude & Petunias
61 Todman Avenue (corner of Baker Street) Kensington, NSW
Tel: +61 (02) 9663 0951
Open 7 days from 7.30am-4pm (weekends until 3pm)