John Smith Cafe is what happens when Sydney sees a goat population outbreak combined with a kitchen that I suspect is well equipped to milk mammals.
Goat cheese aside, JS almost makes you forget being served classic staples, albeit presented majestically. Still there is considerable value in fresh produce, poached eggs and some naughty cakes.
Today a $50 race fee saved on a ‘bandit’ at the Sydney Harbour 10km is reinvested in brunch.
Frustrated to see Alexandria incumbents picking at food in dire fear of actually eating. No wonder they are so skinny. Long wait is abated by a free lemon cake! Acceptably moist and certainly ‘lemony’. For me, too sugary but it’s all upside off a low base.
Vanilla lemon cake – $5.00
Avo on toast with chilli jam – the signature and a magnificent one indeed…
Avocado salsa, goats cheese with sweet chilli on sourdough plus poached egg – $14 + $3
Tough ask to differentiate an avo-on-toast. I don’t pay for this pleasure yet I’m not angry in the aftermath. Sweet chilli works the sweet tooth in all of us.
Nonetheless, I now hate goats – complete domination in the cheese. Dairy tolerance is high for an Asian, but not that high. Balance is thrown off.
The added poached eggs is clever, but the yolk river gives way to a translucent egg white. Failed execution.
Next up is a dietary feel-good attempt. Add the house cured trout, which to my surprise is in mush-form.
Beetroot, cucumber, tomato, goats cheese and red onion salad with smoke cured trout – $14 + $3
I’m always annoyed by fancy dressing – note the thin balsamic circle. Trout tastes mild but I take pleasure in working through multiples of vegetables. Too much time spent looking, too little time lining the stomach. The 10 min taken to eat this leaves me hungrier.
Goats wins again. Cheese too strong. Not the dish for a winter’s day.
An above-the-pack, below-the-lead brunch:
– Food (♦♦♦♦) – differentiates by presentation and many elements. Fresh and vibrant.
– Value (♦♦♦♦♦) – mid teens pricing, good portions. Can’t fault this.
– Other (♦♦♦♦)- feel-at-home experience, staff genuinely good people.
– Overall (♦♦♦♦) – a ‘back to basics‘ that does not break the bank.
One more shot of the avo-on-toast. Devil is in the detail
I liken JS to Something for Jess or Cornersmith in the produce-on-toast niche. Unlike competitors, JS does not hide behind stingy portions. No doubt they source repeat clientele from value-focused Government housing residents nearby.
Will I be returning?
If I yearn for a fresh and simple feed, yes. Not if there is a wait.