Gone are the days when brunch with friends means a fried egg and several rashers of bacon with some lukewarm coffee at the cafe down the corner. These days, the corner cafes come with their own vegan, organic, ethical beans and a rooftop herb garden.
I jest, but as a consummate morning person (and a grandma at night), I honestly do appreciate the upping the ante with breakfast that has occurred over the last decade. I particularly enjoy discovering little neighbourhood gems with phenomenal food, such as Glacage Cafe in Bankstown.
Who needs a website when they have Instagram?
In the rise of the digital age and social media, word of mouth is king - and by word of mouth I mean word of the brightly lit and well-curated smartphone photo and the witty hashtag.
Any self-respecting Instagrammable cafe must have its quirks. Cnr58 chooses an Industrial Style design with liberal usage of exposed brick, and copper-toned elements.
There is an option of outdoor or indoor seating - in my humble opinion, on a nice brunch-morning the outdoor section is well shaded and provides you with a nice spot of fresh air. The downside is - as the name may suggest - on a corner between two roads (that said, I wouldn't consider either road particularly busy and your exposure to car fumes is likely to be minimal).
On this visit, I came for a casual weeknight dinner catch up with with a work colleague and we opted to sit inside away from the elements and nighttime insects.
Seasonal Menu's can be challenging to creatures of habit
Although I like to think of myself as the adventurous type when it comes to food, I admit I am also the type who likes to have a "usual." My regular brunch buddies will know when I find a dish I love, I am going to re-visit it on multiple occasions (or at the very least, I find it to be comforting that the option is open to me if nothing else looks appealing). Cnr58 seems to have an ever-changing seasonal menu devoid of the usual "favourites" that most cafes tend to keep on hand (although, this fact may only extend to the dinner menu as I can't imagine they could change around their "classic breakfast menu" with quite so much vigour).
On this particular occasion, the chef wasn't quite done even printing the menu when we arrived. I felt like I was venturing into the unknown - like I was in a whole new restaurant without the knowledge of any tried and true favourites.
We started with an order of non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic drinks - it was a weeknight after all and my dining partner may have shared the same evening granny affliction that I suffer. I ordered the green-apple-ade (left) which was fresh and delicious and even tasted like green apple.
After some spirited menu reading and debate, we finally ordered. We were provided with a complimentary plate of sourdough with aged balsamic vinegar to dip and munch on while we waited - much appreciated on a weeknight after a long day at work. Photos may or may not have been missed due to a bout of being too hungry to wait.
Pretty as a picture and just as nice to eat
When the food came out, I am reminded that this place has Instagram in lieu of a website. Each dish was plated like a 5-star restaurant with pops of colour, micro-herbs, flowers and artful drips of sauce.
In every case, the impressiveness of the food also extended to taste. We opted (in the way of modern dining) to share the two dishes and went for the sambal pork belly and the lamb with mint and squash/onions - both of which were phenomenal and well thought out. To misquote all that I have learnt from MasterChef Australia - clever dishes do need the right balance of umami, freshness, sweetness and crunch and Cnr58 certainly achieves this in spades.