You could have roller-skated naked down Scarborough Beach Road and not seen another living soul. 7.30am on a fine Sunday morning and for some reason the hub at Mt hawthorn was empty. Doesn't everyone get up at 5am?
We were desperate for breakfast and even though there was a Gold Plate winning restaurant across the street, it wasn't open yet and we couldn't wait. We could see human life forms in the distance and on approach it was clear the New Norcia Bakery was open for breakfast.
Homestyle baked beans with chorizo and poached egg
Known best for its amazing range of breads and other baked goodies, there are three New Norcia bakeries in Perth and the one in Mt Hawthorn also has a café attached to it, which is open daily for breakfast and lunch as well as morning and afternoon tea.
The café is bright and pleasant, with a few tables on the sidewalk, a large room with windows through to the bakery itself, and a smaller more private room with a bright mural of the monastery on the wall.
I believe that no matter what else is on the plate, the toast or bread provided at breakfast can make or break a meal. Mass-produced white bread is a no-go. I personally hate the bread that is so holey that the butter (or egg) drips straight through it. Bread that is over-toasted and becomes hard as a rock is also a conversation killer as you try so hard to bite a piece off without breaking your teeth, you lose the ability to talk.
Luckily none of this is an issue at New Norcia Bakery, and why should it be, when they are the makers of one of the world's finest sourdoughs. It is the perfect density, the perfect flavour, holds a decent amount of egg without collapsing, and you can bite through the crust without losing a tooth. It is, in all likelihood, the perfect breakfast bread.
My order of homestyle baked beans, with chorizo and poached egg came with three half slices of this perfect toast ($17.20). The beans themselves were tasty and very filling, but many of the beans had disintegrated. The chorizo was a welcome addition to the dish, but a few more slices would have been welcomed. The poached egg was a tad over and I could still taste the vinegar from the cooking water. Still the dish was generous and satisfactory.
My friend ordered the Turkish flatbread sandwich ($14.85), which was stuffed with bacon, egg, rocket and tomato chutney. It was tasty and very filling.
Other menu items include French toast brioche ($14.85), roasted field mushrooms with goats cheese on sourdough ($16.10) as well as the normal breakfast offerings such as a big breakfast ($19.95), eggs Benedict ($17.95) and New Norcia muesli ($12.60). There is nothing earth-shatteringly new on the menu, but you also have the option of being able to walk into the café and choosing a pastry or baked goodie from there to have with your breakfast.
The coffee is good; very good, as you would expect from 5 Senses coffee and Bannister Downs Milk ($4). We had two.
The lunch menu is available from 11.30am to 3.30pm and is dominated by a delicious range of sandwiches made fresh on New Norcia sourdough ($9.95).
Watch the world pass by, dogs welcome out the front
Interesting items on the lunch menu include croque monsieur ($16) which is toasted sourdough filled with leg ham, gruyere cheese, dijon and béchamel sauce; house-made New Norcia pies ($9.80) or perhaps the $19 tapas plate with a selection of three tapas (which changes daily) served with sourdough, balsamic and olive oil.
This café is obviously a carbohydrate lover's delight. After you finish your breakfast or lunch, there is nothing stopping you from heading into the bakery to buy something else to take home for later. Perfect.
On the downside, the tables al fresco are terribly small and can make juggling two large plates, coffees and all the condiment accoutrements a bit tricky. There is more space indoors.
The service was friendly and there is free parking in the nearby Mezz shopping centre.