Does that entrance look familiar? How about now?
We were very disappointed when the hidden gem At Perry Lane closed for business. But the sunny courtyard now plays host to Not Just Coffee. They have made themselves slightly more visible to the Oxford Street crowd by placing signs there and we can only hope it works for them.
The specials board is constantly changing so you are always in for a treat. The current slow cooked pork and bean burger ($14) has been so popular though, that is has remained a special for almost two months. There’s a shot of it on their Facebook page.
As you can see above, they are still very dog friendly. Hugo was treated to a dog biscuit and a bowl of water when we visited.
We found the waitstaff to be extremely attentive and friendly throughout our visit. Coffee (regular $3.50, large $4) was first on the agenda and it came fast and hot. Both our large and regular skim cappuccinos tasted terrific. Di Lorenzo is the bean of choice.
As well as fresh juices (orange, apple, whatever is in season, $6), Devil’s Lake iced chocolate ($6.50), milkshakes (regular $6.50, kid’s size $3.50) and the Super Duper Fiber Blend (chia seed, bran, low fat milk, mixed berries and honey, $6.50) amongst others, smoothies are available with whatever fruit is available on the day.
My mixed berry smoothie ($7) was full of berries and very thick. The thickness was because it was a little too yoghurt-based.
The menu is quite varied and unusual. You’ll recognise a lot of dishes but NJC has added their own twist to all of them which is refreshing to see.
The good ol’ bacon & egg wrap ($10) is served in a soft toasted tortilla with plenty of filling and therefore plenty of flavour. The twist comes with the in-house relish which is sweet and delicious. The friend who ordered always picks the breakfast roll or wrap on the menu and even he was impressed!
Prepare yourself for indulgent flavour! The 3 musketeers grilled cheese ($9, or $10 for the jalapeño version) is the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich. Oozing out of that delicious centre is Swiss, provolone and cheddar. Just to be extra greedy, this was ordered with a side of bacon ($2.50)!
So simple yet well executed. If you enjoy your grilled cheese, you can’t go passed this!
The breakfast croissant ($6.50) is currently joined by a smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, cheese and avocado version ($10) which is on the specials menu and looked delectable as it was delivered to a neighbouring table.
The standard version which we enjoyed comes with ham, cheddar cheese and tomato. Again a simple dish but done well with a buttery, fluffy croissant and stacks of ingredients. The price also can’t be faulted.
The two ‘egg breakfasts’ available are the Egyptian eggs flair (poached eggs, spiced cannellini beans and dukkah, $13) and the creamy baked ricotta ($15) which is what I ordered.
The ricotta is served on toast and topped with two poached eggs (in my case one with a hard centre, another soft). The ricotta was well herbed but overall I found the flavour lacking a bit. The mashed carrot on the side was an unusual match which felt slightly out of place. I added bacon on the side which was nice and crisp as I had asked for.
The cranberry scones ($4.50 each) are another current special. Served either with honey & apricot or passionfruit butter, they were of a shape we have never see scones in before. Beneath the crispy interior though was the familiar fluffy scone we recognised. There certainly were plenty of cranberries and a hint of citrus throughout. Both of the butters tasted delicious but the honey & apricot was unanimously the preferred!
Other breakfast dishes include red robust bircher muesli with fresh fruit ($12), wholesome yoghurt parfait ($10), 21st century chicken sandwich (lemon pepper chicken, cheddar, avocado and herb aioli ($12), Tower of Pisa (prosciutto, avocado, rocket, bocconcini and sweet pepper relish, $13) and Sakura noodle toss salad ($14).
Mothers with children also have the ability to order any sandwich with another half of that sandwich for an extra $3.50 which is a thoughtful offer.
NJC are being very clever with their promotions. Facebook, Twitter and their own homepage are helping to spread the word. Facebook is updated with specials and shots of some patrons of the four legged kind. All of this combined with the friendliness evident from the staff makes Not Just Coffee a fantastic and relaxed breakfast retreat before you indulge in a Paddington shopping spree.
Overall Rating: 21/25
Payment Options: CC (2% surcharge), EFTPOS, cash