Brand new and ready to surprise you in the best way possible is John Montagu, a café that takes its name to heart and endeavours to offer dishes with flavours that work for breakfast plates as well as lunch time sandwiches.
You can expect some gradual seasonal changes to the menu so the below is just a taste of what’s to come.
Seating is limited but as I came to learn, the locals seem to be some of the friendliest you’ll come across so you won’t mind spinning a yarn with your neighbouring patron at the large share table inside.
Service was exceptional this morning with every member of the staff providing a smile, recommendations and conversation which can make such a difference to your breakfast experience.
Round one, round two, round three… you’ll want more and more of the Di Gabriel coffee ($3.50). Our cups were served fast, hot and couldn’t be faulted. The cold drip ($4) with frosted ice cubes and a touch of lemon was powerful with the slightly acidic undertone that comes with this method of steeping.
While JM offers bottled drinks, it’s fantastic to see unique elements on menus. The elderflower and mint soda ($6) is a mix of elderflower syrup (imported from Sweden), San Pellegrino, mint and crushed ice. A perfectly refreshing summer beverage.
The petite breakfast board ($12) is a bargain of a dish for the amount and quality of what I received. Among the elegantly served board, the hot pan contained a chorizo cassoulet. The mushrooms alongside were delicious and well seasoned. I was in heaven as I scooped the cheese, ‘shrooms, smoked speck and chorizo with slightly sweet cooking base onto the quinoa and soy sourdough. The coddled egg on the side was cooked perfectly and again, well seasoned.
The mushroom ($13) is only served on weekends but luckily that’s the only time I review! With a base of sauteed field mushrooms, rocket, truffled parmesan and garlic créme fraîche this was another remarkable dish with an unreal price. The créme fraîche did not overpower the other ingredients but worked together with them. My guest added bacon (which was integrated into the dish) and a truffled coddled egg ($2).
Even though the menu will gradually be changing, I developed a fantastic understanding of not only John Montagu’s aim, but the chef’s as well. The menu and dishes are superbly crafted and I can only be proud that SoS managed to get in on the ground floor on this one as it is certainly a café worth visiting and will be one to watch develop. I love the concept of altering a dish slightly (even as simply as adding or changing one item or how the dish is served) in order to change how it is perceived by the customer as a breakfast or lunch dish! The St. Honoré bread that is chosen for each item is also spot on.
I’d love to return to try the beef cheeks (12 hour beef cheeks, cheddar, sauerkraut, Spanish onion, $16) and salmon (house cured salmon, avocado, dill cream cheese, salmon roe and rye, $14).
Overall Rating: 22.5/25
Address: 144 Cathedral Street, Woolloomooloo, 2011
Payment Options: Credit card, EFTPOS, cash