Sunday, 27 January 2013

Mad Spuds Cafe, Surry Hills

One day I decided to embark on a trip to Le Monde. Alas, it was a Sunday. It turns out that Le Monde is closed on Sundays. Instead, I headed to Crown Street to partake of the organic potatoes from Robertson* (where they filmed Babe).

Crown Street, that strip of trendy cafes and bars, was packed, with sizable lines outside various shop fronts. Mad Spuds was no exception, and we had to put our names down to wait our turn. There's a cute stationery/ card shop right next door, though, so we browsed around to kill time.

*: I just realised why there's a big potato in Robertson.

After about 15 minutes' wait, we were led inside to be seated. The interior is quite small but turnover seems quite high and there's a bit of outdoor seating. The waitress serving us was really friendly but I think we gave her a fright when the two of us decided to order 3 mains (not realising how generous their portions are).

The coffee arrived soon after. I must say that even though the spuds are the main attraction, the coffee is kind of amazing. My flat white had a really strong coffee aroma and taste but lacked the bitterness that I often find accompanies that amount of coffee flavour. It was creamy, rich, and made me want more. I later learnt they were given 2 coffee cups in the SMH good cafe guide. Definitely seems well-deserved.

Cappuccino ($3.50)

Flat white ($3.50)

My choice of dish was the 'boxty' - a potato pancake with mustard, bacon, avocado, fried egg, apple puree, white sausage, and what seems to be a dash of curry powder or paprika (tasted more like curry powder!). The boxty was crisp and formidably filling, tasting astonishingly nothing like your typical potato. The bacon was fried till dark and crunchy (the way I like it), and they were generous with the slabs of avocado. The egg yoke was half runny and the apple puree contributed some sweetness to the otherwise savoury dish (which I could actually have done without, but if that's the traditional way, who am I to comment). The white sausage patty was meaty and felt like mince, making the entire dish rich and full of carbs and protein. I should have been content with sampling one dish for the duration of that visit. Alas, I'm a committed glutton.

Boxty ($16)

My brunch buddy had a  vegan dish, which was a stack of tofu, avocado, corn bread, potato and lentil, and many many Boston beans (with a slightly Mexican twist), and crispy quinoa puffs. It was tasty, but I think I preferred my tower of food because of the greater variety of ingredients.

Vegan brekkie stack ($16)
Finally, we shared a dish of twice cooked potato skins. At the time of ordering it, we thought that potato skins would be like crisp cut French fries - a mere snack and easy to share. When the plate of spuds arrived, I felt dismayed at the fear of not being able to do it justice. We managed to get through most of it (with a lot of trouble), so thankfully we didn't waste too much.

The taco flavour refers to the Mexican style of making the spuds. The dish consisted of 4 halves of potatoes with crispy skin on the outside and supporting chunks of mozzarella cheese, beef (spiced but it wasn't spicy), chilli sauce and coleslaw. It's definitely a main and deserves the respect of people who order it as a main.

Taco potato skins ($15)

 And so our brunch ended with our stomachs completely filled to the brim with starchy goodness. My conclusion? I would totally go back for the good coffee, excellent service, and cheap (and filling and aesthetically pleasing) food.

Mad Spuds Cafe on Urbanspoon

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