Balthazar café has just opened up in the new shopping complex at Pasadena. It hasn't been open that long and so, treading carefully when trying it out, on the first visit we stuck to coffee and shared a cake. Rio Coffee is on offer as well as a selection of cakes and tarts. We went with a single lemon meringue pie to share, and while the topping is more cream than meringue it was a tasty little treat, the lemon flavouring combating the sweetness of the cream on top to make it a nice balance of flavours. The coffee had a slightly bitter aftertaste more to do with the beans than the making and was quite a nice cup.
There aren't many cafes similar in the area and it was quite busy when we first visited. There is a simple but elegant colour scheme of black, white and chrome. It works well. With a wall of windows the space is full of light and feels comfortable. The staff are all very friendly, greeting and farewelling diners as they enter and leave. The prices are very reasonable making it an affordable dining out option.
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We enjoyed our first visit so much that we returned the next day for a late lunch. I ordered the Balthazar Burger with chips ($10.70) and my dining partner ordered the Balthazar Steak Sanga which was one of the specials at $9.90. Both were good, the steak sandwich probably piping the burger, but not coming with chips.
The patty on the burger was just a typical hamburger patty – nothing to write home about. The steak was tender and well cooked on the steak sanga and there was also roasted capsicum and Spanish onion on the sanga – a nice little lift from plain old tomato and lettuce on the burger. The chips were crunchy and well salted and there were plenty of them.
On this second visit they were quite busy again and it's obvious that the area was crying out for a café like this. If they can keep up the good work then I'm sure they'll develop a loyal following and be successful. On the first visit I picked up a coffee loyalty card where you collect stamps and get a cup free after you get to the magic number. I'm sure it won't be long before mine is full. I also think it won't be long before I try the penne pasta special that was on the specials board - Penne tossed with chicken, semi-dried tomatoes and roasted capsicum in a light rose sauce. Balthazar Cafe does take-away too, has a decent looking breakfast menu and I think, the potential to be a favourite for families. All of these factors make Balthazar Café a welcome addition to the area.
It was good to see the critical comments, such as about the bread roll. Sadly some places let themselves down on little things.
I went to the shopping centre recently for the first time since it was rebuilt and didn't see this. Must go again now.