Ellen 18 Huntley is a café on Huntley Street in Alexandria at the base of the Arkadia block of apartments. Facing Sydney Park it's a great place for brunch before bringing your dog to the park. The menu features their popular fish burger and an ever changing rotations of specials.
"It's called 18 Ellen Huntley. No...um it's Ellen 18 Huntley," I say to Mr NQN one Sunday morning. For a place with its address in the name somehow I'm having trouble remembering it.
It was a wild and windy Sunday morning and I had to remind Mr NQN we were adding a stop to the dog's weekend walk with lunch at Ellen 18 Huntley cafe. We arrive at around 11:30am and put our names down on the clipboard outside. Seeing a couple of tables waiting before us we take the dogs around the block for a walk. By the time we get back 10 minutes later we just wait a few minutes for our table. Ellen is not a huge café but it is popular and doesn't take bookings. Most people put their names down and then lie back on the grass or wait just outside on the brick wall.
Service is friendly and we are not waiting long until someone comes out to take an order or to bring food out. The menu at Ellen has some regular items and a page of three specials. Usually I don't order specials because they'll quite likely be gone by the time I put the story up and that means you Dear Reader won't be able to order them but the specials at Ellen are, well, special. The regular menu has items like chicken salad, steak and crab pasta. Their most popular item is the fish burger but the specials menu has items like Rabbit Chou Farci with pearl barley mushroom porridge or Kingfish Crudo and these are around $30 so more lunch prices. There's also a surcharge of 10% on Sundays.
My iced rose chai is nice and comes with a spoon (I'm not sure why there's no sugar on the table but I guess you can ask for it) and is an interesting mix of dried roses and chai. Mr NQN likes his coffee too.
The shoestring French fries come out sprinkled in nori salt. They're moreish although they could have come out hotter as they are a touch on the colder side (silly me forgot to ask for piping hot fries).
Our food comes out shortly after. The fish burger is a panko crumbed thinnish NZ hoki fish fillet with American cheese, pickles, tartare sauce and lettuce on a soft potato bun. It's delicious - soft and crunchy at the same time and I can see why it is very popular although I like fish fillets a bit thicker so that they're more moist inside.
When I asked if the hash browns were house made I was told yes but they don't really seem to be or if they are they taste just like regular hash browns so I wouldn't necessarily recommend them unless you were craving them.
The Southern calamari is paired with tiny roast potatoes, sun dried tomato XO, squid ink mayonnaise and herbs. The calamari is as soft as butter and pairs well with the slightly crispy golden potatoes. It's a little on the oily side as the ink mayonnaise melts a little in the heat but we both love how tender the calamari is.
There are caneles (which I adore when done well) and a honey cake only available on weekends but for now, the dogs are eager for their walk!
So tell me Dear Reader, do you often order the specials?
This meal was independently paid for.
153/18 Huntley St, Alexandria NSW 2015
Open Tuesday to Sunday 7:30am-2:30pm (8am Sundays)