I’m sure all of the fire-related jokes have been done with regards to The Incinerator in Willoughby so I won’t offer any clever puns here! This formidable-looking, spiked building has been overhauled into a café above while an art gallery resides below.
Entry to the café is via either side of the building which means that the outdoor seating is easily accessible to prams or pets. It’s a very peaceful location and a great spot to soak up some rays. If you prefer the sights and sounds of an open kitchen though, head for the spacious interior where you could sit and people watch for hours!
The waitstaff were certainly on the ball this morning. Even though they’re currently hiring, everything was fast and under control with a few jokes thrown in here and there for good measure!
Coffee (regular $3.50, large $4) with a kick. Our cups were all strong and fantastic, expertly brewed and nothing to fault really!
Praise all around for the chocolate Tim Tam shake ($7). More expensive than you regular milkshake but an intense flavour and good consistency. Also available in malt.
Smoothies are on offer as red berry, banana & oat ($7 each) or boot camp green ($8).
The menu is seasonal so expect changes depending on what’s fresh and available. You would be forgiven for thinking it’s ‘pork season’ because there are currently three dishes offering the Divine Provider of Bacon. The breakfast burger ($15) arrived on a soft brioche bun which was made decidedly heftier by a thick pork sausage patty. The patty was juicy and very flavoursome although a bit rich for one of my guests. Accompanying the patty was some sweet caramelised onion, melted cheese and a fried egg which was cooked just enough so that it was runny but didn’t explode when the top of the bun was squeezed on. Three pieces of crispy, chunky potato wedges accompanied.
On the healthier side of the table, one of my guests ordered the heirloom tomatoes ($17.50). This cold salad also included avocado, radish and goats’ curd and was flavoured with large basil leaves, a dash of olive oil and some seasoning. I can see where Incinerator was heading although my guest was hoping for more warm elements on the plate. The poached eggs became cool very quickly because of the salad.
More pork. That’s fine in my book! While the 4 Little Pigs (crispy pressed cheek, jowel, neck and hock, $17.50) sounded intriguing, it’s hard to pass on pork belly, especially when it’s master stock pork belly ($17.50). Hands-down the best dish of the morning! The pork was super crispy and succulent with tremendous flavouring. The accompaniments were equally outstanding. Having not read the rest of the ingredients on the menu (I was sold at “pork belly”), I’m happy to report that each of their ingredients stood out so well that they were so easy to discern. The sweet chutney with chunks of juicy pineapple worked very well while the salad with very fine strips of apple, chilli, oregano and a soy sauce was also outstanding. I alternated pieces of pork with each of them. The super-yellow yolk of the duck egg just worked with everything regardless! My only criticism is the size. I literally could have eaten two of these but didn’t want to pay $35 for my breakfast.
You’ll find the menu to be quite short (even more so if you do not eat pork, although this will surely change next season) but some of the other items we missed include homemade muesli bar, vanilla yoghurt and seasonal berries, ($15), house smoked salmon, cucumber, horseradish yoghurt and poached eggs ($17.50) and 2 free range eggs done any way ($9) with sides such as tomatoes, hash brown ($4 each), bacon, sausage ($4.50 each) or avocado ($5).
It’s great to see something different on the North Shore because it sorely needs it. The Incinerator knows what they’re doing when it comes to coffee although some of the dishes need some more thought.
Overall Rating: 17.5/25
Website: http://theincinerator.com.au/ and https://www.facebook.com/theincineratorwilloughby
Phone: 8188 2220
Address: 2 Small Street, Willoughby, 2068
Payment Options: Credit cards, EFTPOS
What an interesting spot