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Twig Café (at Garden Life), Surry Hills – Rating: 21/25

Twig Café

Now and again I visit a café that I simply can’t wait to get home and write the review for.  I found one today in the form of Twig located on the premises of Garden Life, a gardening and landscape design shop.

Courtyard

The seating available varies from the sun-soaked sidewalk to the calm interior, to the lush courtyard, to the terrace with table suitable for larger groups.  We snatched a sidewalk table where we enjoyed the company of two pairs of couples as they came and went, sharing coffees and hot cross buns amongst themselves.  We were enjoying ourselves too much to be in such a rush!  Water, menus and a smile soon presented themselves thanks to the professional and friendly staff.  Even though it’s close to the corner of Cleveland Street, our surroundings were very calm and relaxed.  And our visit was about to get better…

Organic fair trade hot chocolate

Gorgeous organic fair trade hot chocolate ($4) (mocha is also available).  Rich and creamy, it was a treat.  Had it not been so good, I would have kicked myself as I now review the menu and notice at the top: heavenly hot chocolates – hot hazel (with hazelnuts) and bounty (with roasted coconut) ($5.50 each).  Next time.

Some other different additions to the menu include Marco Polo iced tea ($5) with strawberry & lime and Moroccan mint ice tea ($4).  Twig also squeezes their own juices including old faithful (orange juice)citrus blush (ruby grapefruit)going troppo (orange, pineapple and mint) and pick me up (apple, carrot and ginger) ($5.50 each).

Skim cappuccino

Single Origin’s Mostro is the coffee of choice here and boy does it taste fantastic.  Our skim cappuccino (short $3, regular $3.50, large $4) was rich and full of flavour.  It was also served promptly which is what we needed.

Seasonal fruit salad

The seasonal fruit salad ($11.50) is served with plain Country Valley yoghurt.  Our bowl included strawberries, watermelon, melon, pineapple, blueberries and apple.  The yoghurt was great and most of the fruit very tasty however some were not as in-season as we had hoped.  This can obviously change from time to time.

Egg in a basket

The most popular dish at Twig is the egg in the basket ($12.65).  The Berrima Ridge organic free range egg is panfried in the centre of rye bread and topped with spinach and feta.  On the side is Dicky’s spicy tomato relish.  I do not know who Dicky is, but I love his relish!

Even without the addition of the relish, this dish is simply outstanding.  The bread was flavoursome and chewy and the eggs still slightly runny.  The spinach was smooth in texture and had been quickly fried in some marvellously-tasty olive oil.  The feta melted in your mouth and the relish (which by the way we found more sweet than spicy) was a perfect match.  We added bacon ($5) which was nice and crispy but frankly, we need not have.  It was not needed!

Corn and mushroom risotto fritter

As I was reading the description of this dish, I thought it sounded needlessly complex.  Look at this list: corn and mushroom risotto fritter, roasted tomatoes, pork and fennel chipolatas with Dicky’s new roast eggplant, caramelised apple and rosemary relish ($18.50).  What a mouthful, so many flavours!  Would they all work?  The red “yum” near the price of this dish on the menu sounded promising.

How unique it was.  Again like the Basket, this dish was about textures.  The risotto fritter had been rolled in polenta before frying to give it a golden crispy exterior.  Smooth inside with some ‘chewance’ added to the rice on the outside thanks to the frying.  The spinach and roasted tomato worked wonders and the thick, snappy, juicy chipolatas were also full of flavour.  Dicky obviously knows what he is doing with his relishes.  The rosemary was very faint but the sweetness of the apple was evident and complimented the savoury fritter very well.

Our neighbouring table recommended we return for the house cured ocean trout with avocado on rye with sauce vierge ($15).  I agree.  The buttermilk pancakes with fresh berries and crisp pancetta ($16) also looked delicious.  Do yourself a favour and visit soon!

Taste: StarStarStarStarStar
PresentationStarStarStarStar
Service: StarStarStarStar
Atmosphere: StarStarStarStarStar
Value: StarStarStar

Overall Rating: 21/25

Website:  http://www.gardenlife.com.au/cafe and http://www.facebook.com/TwigCafe
Phone: 8021 6406
Address: 357 Cleveland Street, Surry Hills, 2016

Payment Options: CC (minimum $10), cash.  No EFTPOS.

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