A Social Science grad with a never-ending appetite and lust for Sydney life. Community and Social Media Manager @ProjectFutures www.projectfutures.com
Published March 20th 2013
Take a trip to the Mediterranean in Brighton le Sands
As a great lover of dining out for breakfast and a big fan of anything Mediterranean, I must admit I was pretty excited for the chance of a late breakfast at Brighton le Sands' Café Neptune. Situated on the bustling Grand Parade in multicultural Brighton, Café Neptune's menu is replete with mouthwatering Mediterranean delights with some other crowd pleasers in the mix for good measure.
Bathed in late morning sunshine we took our spots at the front
Walking into the café, I was greeted by a soothing chocolate brown interior and an incredibly friendly waiter. The restaurant is warm and inviting, subtly lit by beautiful light fixtures in red tones. Along the front of the restaurant is a row of bi-fold windows that open onto the street and on a nice day let in the sunshine and sea breeze. Although, given Café Neptune's position on the busy Grand Parade, it can get noisy with the windows open but if this bothers you there are many comfortable looking seats towards the back of the restaurant which may offer a quieter meal.
Enough about the interior', I hear you say, 'what about the food?' Having perused the menu in excitement before my visit, I already knew exactly what I wanted to try - the Mediterranean breakfast - and my conviction was confirmed by owner John's own recommendation. John also recommended the Neptune stack, another meal with a Mediterranean feeling, and so rather than dithering over which was our second choice we listened to the man and went with both recommendations.
My dining companion and I also went with John's suggestions for drinks and ordered pineapple frappes flavoured with honey, the name of which unfortunately escapes me now. Finished with a chunk of pineapple and festive, although slightly smooshed umbrella, this drink was a nice surprise. Ordinarily I'm not a huge fan of ice-laden drinks as sometimes this can make them too watery and compromises the flavour somewhat. Fortunately this was not so with this drink, as I think the flavour from the honey was strong enough to hold it all together.
The meals came out without much delay and I was pleasantly surprised at the generosity at the meal. Having chosen the Mediterranean breakfast as it reminded me of similar breakfasts I'd had in Turkey on a recent trip, I was a very happy chappy to see that the meal really delivered. The flat bread was deliciously warm and wonderful when dipped in the zataar, of which there were two different spice blends, and the European natural yoghurt was perfectly tart.
Although my eggs were slightly too firm for my liking, as I prefer creamy scrambled eggs, the mushrooms were well cooked and seasoned, and the small wedges of feta were deliciously strong and creamy and went well smeared on the bread with the fresh tomato and cucumber. Overall I was very pleased with my choice and only sorry I didn't have enough room in my stomach to finish it all.
Had I not had my heart set on the Mediterranean breakfast, the well-presented Neptune Stack would have been my other choice, as I find it hard to resist anything on a menu with haloumi in it. Consisting of two poached eggs and grilled haloumi, inside lightly toasted ciabatta, atop wilted spinach and sauteed mushrooms, this was also a winner. The haloumi in this dish was cooked to perfection and nicely browned on both sides so that it kept its shape well. The spinach could have done with a bit more seasoning, but the eggs were poached nicely and the addition of the sauteed mushrooms went well with the overall meal.
And I must make a special mention of the wait staff. I really cannot overstate how fantastic our waiter was. Having been a patron at many a place where you're lucky to get a smile out of the staff, it was very refreshing to be surrounded by attentive and caring staff, who were genuinely concerned that you have a fantastic experience in their establishment. The owner, John, was also very friendly and came over to great us, offering his recommendations, and chatted to us about the restaurant. Initially I was surprised to discover that Café Neptune can turn over 260 people for breakfast on a Sunday, but after experiencing the delicious food, great service and beautiful view of the water, it all made sense.
Café Neptune is a family friendly restaurant with a dedicated children's menu. It is also open for lunch and dinner and offers a comprehensive wine and beer list and also serves up cocktails from its sophisticated bar area.