Bianca: Welcome to 2016 guys. It just wouldn’t be me to kick off our first post of the year unless it included some form of burger…Breakfast for me is usually a non-event, I constantly move catch-ups to coincide with the lunch menu kicking in. But over the Christmas break, I did more slothing around than I had intended and felt an overdose of vegetables were needed to purify the blood.
Concord and the surrounding suburbs have a variety of great cafes, new and old that I’ve yet to make a dent in. And living virtually around the corner form the main dining strip, Majors Bay road. I really have no excuse. So I found myself at ‘Espresso 96’ three times in the span of one week.
Having recently been overtaken in April, the newly updated menu has a clear focus on healthy and nourishing foods. But that old adage still rings true. Just because it’s healthy doesn’t mean it can’t taste good. And if it’s good enough for Commando Steve (who I happened to snap a few sneaky photos of) then its good enough for moi. Three visits was my sweet spot to ascertain the quality of the food, two visits devoted to breakfast(y) items and the last to my main love – the burger!
I was taken with the ‘Virgin Pina Colada’ juice and ordered it across two of my visits. Pineapple anything usually has my undivided attention but the addition of basil really turned this into something interesting. There are a range of healthy juices on offer so if that floats your boat you’ll be pretty chuffed. I also tried a ‘Skim Mocha’ which was heavier on the coffee than the chocolate side.
My first visit I went with the ‘Herb Scramble Stack’ $17.90. A collection of all things, scrambled eggs, bacon, haloumi and oven roasted tomato. I was being a shitty ‘blogger’ that day and neglected to take photos. But they were very amiable about amending my eggs so as not to have any cream or heavy milk. The roasted tomato surprisingly was my favourite element on the dish, attention to detail impresses me greatly. So it was nice to see they put some thought and effort into each aspect, instead of just slapping half a raw tomato on the side of the plate.
My second visit I went with the special of ‘Zucchini and Corn Fritters’ –w/poached eggs, chilli jam and a side of Haloumi. Quite frankly life is always better with haloumi. Consistently across the three visits, both mine and my dining companion’s dishes eggs were poached perfectly. There certainly wasn’t any skimping on the corn, each bite brought forth a fresh burst. Not quite ‘Marge the rains are ere’ level but close.
Both Madre and my pal Alex went with ‘The Soul Bowl’ –w/ fresh baby spinach, sautéed kale, avocado, toasted almonds, poached eggs, walnut pesto and sourdough rye bread $15.90. Alex also bulked up the meal by adding some Haloumi $4 and Herbed mushies $3. Certainly a pretty dish and one to get the fitness freaks a little excited. Eating healthily and exercising is pretty important to me but I also get extremely bored by dishes that deliver in the nutrition but fail in the flavour stakes. Luckily this brought the goods in relation to both. The only comment I’d make is that the kale had a touch too much vinegar.
And what was to be my last burger of 2015 and the very reason for my latest visit to Espresso 96. The ’96 Chilli Burger’ – organic premium grade pattie w/sharp cheddar, jalapenos, house special sauce, lettuce, tomato and fries $19.90. Let me just say, when this was brought to the table it really looked the goods. But upon that first bite I was disappointed. Instantaneously it was obvious this burgers downfall was in its patty. I’m harsh, I know it… but it’s guaranteed I eat a burger at least once a week, so I’m a tough one to please and I expect a lot.
The patty was really underwhelming. With a strong binded grind that produced a rather unpleasant texture and with seasoning that was virtually non-existent. Which was really a shame as the rest of the elements making up the burger were quite good. The bun, a simple white roll held up to the job. The American cheese had that gloriously gooey melt. The house made sauce was nice and the jalapenos brought that welcome bit of heat. For my Facebook FBAS fatties a 2.9/5 pickles. The accompanying chips were pretty great though.
A really great option if you’re in and around Concord, who-ever said suburbia wasn’t trendy?