The Little Cup and Saucer is a cafe tucked away in a quiet area of Canterbury, hidden away as if a local secret. It also happens to be my friend Valentina's favourite cafe (and she's a local).
Almost everything at The Little Cup and Saucer is made in house except the croissants and the pastrami in the Reuben sandwich. Sauces have that extra kick of flavour, cakes are fresh and warm and everything oozes with house made care.
If the owner's name Joe Gambacorta sounds familiar you may have heard of him when he worked as the chef at the Victoria Room Tea Salon in the city and at the Victoria Room in Darlinghurst which is where I first met him. He also authored the High Tea at the Victoria Room and Supper At The Victoria Room cookbooks and it's no surprise that the cakes are all house made (and you can book afternoon tea events here too, all served on Valentina's tiered stands which is how I first met her).
The name The Little Cup and Saucer comes from 2 places. "We were trying to come up with a name that linked us to the area but also incorporated something to do with a cafe. Cup and Saucer Creek runs in a reserve a couple of streets behind the cafe and we adopted the name," explains Joe. Even their hanging pendant lights are made from cups and saucers.
Mr NQN starts brunch with a Rise and Shine juice. It is made with apple, orange, carrot, celery watermelon and ginger. I have a creamy, milky Iced Chai frappe with the house made chai blend.
There are three specials available and Joe recommends us the Benny Got Clucked. This starts with house made cornbread at the base piled with Southern style fried chicken fillets, crispy bacon, 2 poached eggs, rocket and Sriracha hollandaise. It's a lot of textures and flavours in one dish and immensely colourful underneath it all with the salad and avocado.
Breakfast burritos aren't really as a big thing here in Australia as they are in America which is a shame because they're a) easy to eat b) transportable and c) often really delicious. The breakfast burrito here is enormous and stuffed with two fried eggs, halloumi, spinach, avocado, tomato relish, aioli with a choice of chorizo and mushrooms. We go with both chorizo and mushrooms for some added vegetable goodness plus flavour and whilst you'd need an enormous appetite to finish this, you just want to.
Confession: whenever I see rosti on the menu I feel compelled to order it. We had to ask for it even though there were three of us ordering four dishes ("Hey what's new, we are familiar with your modus operandi," says you my Dear Reader). There's crispy edged potato and sweet potato rosti pancakes topped with two poached eggs, greens, avocado, hollandaise, chive crème fraiche and choice of bacon or smoked salmon. We go with smoked salmon and it's all I can do to stop myself from finishing it all because somehow I've convinced myself that this is practically vegetarian and therefore terribly good for you.
One of our favourite items is the Reuben sandwich. It's generously filled with layers upon layers of pastrami, house made sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, sliced pickles and thousand island dressing on crunchy, freshly toasted wholemeal sourdough. It even comes with fries on the side and a garlicky aioli and tomato sauce when we ask for it. I could happily eat this sandwich every day of the week.
Joe is good friends with Valentina as well as a neighbour both here and in the country (yes they are neighbours in both locations!) and so when Valentina gets up to look at the cakes Joe asks if we would like to try the granola which they've just pulled out of the oven. He makes us individual yogurt parfaits with blueberry compote at the base, creamy vanilla yogurt and this incredibly addictive granola. It's usually reserved for their acai bowls but customers love it so much that regulars buy it by the bag full-one man buys it in kilo packs to eat at home and I can see why. It's nutty, caramelly and full of good bits like big chunks of walnuts, almonds, flaked coconut and lots of seeds and honey caramel.
We sample three of Valentina's favourite cakes (and they all happen to be gluten free too). The first is a delicate lemon and rose cake with a cream topping and delicate dried rose petals. It's wonderfully fresh and so springy fresh. The orange cake has slices of candied orange on top and is moist and intensely orangey while the chocolate cake is so soft as to be almost pudding like with a centre filling of chocolate ganache.
So tell me Dear Reader, do you have a favourite local cafe or do you try different places for brunch?
This meal was independently paid for.
The Little Cup And Saucer
52 Northcote St, Canterbury NSW 2193 Monday closed Tuesday to Friday 7am–4pm Saturday & Sunday 7am–3pm Phone: (02) 9591 8886