You’re definitely not hard pressed finding any variety of restaurant or café on Norton Street in Leichardt. Nestled in amongst the many Italian eateries you’ll find Le Pain Quotidien. There are a handful of tables outside but a more enjoyable experience can be found inside especially at the long communal table. There is more room at the rear of the café with a room for functions as well as in the courtyard to the rear.
The first site to greet you upon entry is the vast array of pastries, tarts and homemade organic bread. A large cabinet in the centre of the café showcases some of the spreads (both sweet and savoury) that Le Pain Quotidien use in their dishes and that you can buy yourself. The music was an eclectic mix which we found ourselves describing as “ghost train” and fairytail soundtracks! We hope the management rethink this choice for the sake of their patrons.
The coffee tasted fantastic. One of us ordered a regular skim cappuccino ($4.65) and was greeted with a large bowl. Almost soup bowlish in size, you’ll need two hands to enjoy this one!
What a refreshing beverage this was. The home made mint lemonade ($4.75) which is also available sans mint tasted fantastic and is a must for any fans of homemade lemonade. As far as the rest of the available drinks goes, there is organic bottled orange or apple juice ($4.75 ea), Phoenix fruit juices (orange, mango & apple or apple & guava or mango & passionfruit, $4.95 ea), a large variety of teas ($3.50) and coffees (small $3.65, reg $4.65) and pots of hot chocolate ($5.50). A great range for hot and cold weather.
The breakfast menu was so special(ised) that to do it proper justice we need to reproduce it. The quality and prices of the dishes was superb. The current breakfast specials include: organic granola parfait ($9.95), organic natural yoghurt topped with seasonal fruit garnish ($6.95), organic poached eggs with hollandaise sauce, salad and bread ($14.50, with ham $16, with salmon $18.50) and omelettes such as leg hame & gruyere cheese ($15.50), avocado and tomato chutney ($15.50) and smoked salmon and chives ($18.50). Which to pick…?
It was hard to resist an Organic soft boiled egg with organic bread ($6.95). The dish was well presented and it came with a great selection of breads. Although it was picture perfect, the ‘soft’ boiled egg did not deliver and was instead hard on the inside. This made it hard to dunk the bread soldiers (pictured above on the left hand side of the egg). We also had to seek out our own cutlery (a teaspoon was necessary to scrape out the egg) and the wait staff were nowhere to be found. Hopefully these issues are not common experiences for diners as the café had so many other great elements.
The organic baker’s basket (small $10, large $18) contained a selection of homemade organic bread. Amongst the breads included was rye, spelt, multigrain, walnut and baguette. Each bread was very different with their own special taste yet everyone enjoyed all of them. They were served with butter and a selection of jams and spreads – in our case organic apricot, mixed berries and Brunette, a Belgian praliné spread.
We were then treated to a few more showcase-worthy spreads. Each person at the table had their favourite. They were smooth & rich and according to a lady sitting next to us, are one of the reasons why they travel to Le Pain Quotidien. They could always cheat and buy a bottle of their very own. The store manager Jad, let us in on an indulgent secret of slicing some baguette very thin, toasting it crisp and then spreading the white chocolate over it. Jad, you had us at “white chocolate spread”.
A toasted hame and cheese croissant ($7.95 or with mesclun salad for $2 more)... have you ever seen one as appetising as this? Here is an establishment that cares about their food. The golden pure butter croissant was crisp on the outside but melted away inside. The trio of mustards (one of them more an olive tapenade) each bring their own great flavours to the dish. Simple but complemented so well by the other ingredients on the board and our table.
Our one mistake was not leaving room for any dessert but we will return for some of these tarts and pastries like the chocolate mousse dome ($7.95) or the espresso tart ($5.50). Every item we experienced was worth the price. Treat yourself next weekend.
Overall Rating: 19.5/25
Phone: 9564 0099
Address: 54 Norton Street, Leichardt, 2040
Payment Options: CC, EFTPOS, cash