Sometimes bad reputations hang around longer than necessary. Naked Fig in Swanbourne has been tainted in the past with stories of bad service so it was with a degree of apprehension that I headed down to the beach in search of breakfast.
Once we navigated the slightly convoluted entrance (through the carpark, around the playground, up the hill) we entered the open and airy café. Like all the Fig's, the Naked Fig is an exercise in eclectic ornamentation with each restaurant taking on a slightly different theme. Buckets are the order of the day at Naked Fig, but the biggest decoration is naturally the view, across the dune bushes to the blinding white sand, and cooling blue of the water and sky.
And in case you were wondering, the café doesn't seem to afford a view of the nude beach.
We were served almost immediately, and my inquiry regarding a kids menu was quickly met with a kids menu/colouring in and a pencil case full of stubby pencils. The kids menu is limited and covers breakfast lunch and dinner. Breakfast options include eggs on toast with sausage or bacon ($9.50), chocolate pancakes ($8) and a fruit skewer ($8).
The main menu is more involved, with some cracking breakfast dishes you don't see elsewhere (except at the other Figs), such as nasi goreng ($18) with rice, vegetables and a happy egg; my rockin' beans ($16) with seasoned and spiced beans and poached eggs on toast; and eggs on fire ($18.80) with corn cakes, avocado, bacon, eggs and optional jalepenos.
All the Figs also offer an interesting range of drink options, and you're not limited to boring old tea and coffee.
Today I tried the potato and feta pancake ($18) with a side of bacon ($3). Despite the overzealous use of pea shoots this was a tasty dish. The pancake wasn't very pancake-like, instead it was a wedge of potato cake, with a cracking pesto drizzled all over, and two (slightly overdone) poached eggs. It would have been easy to over-season this dish, but it was just right.
My daughter ordered the chocolate pancakes ($8): three kid-sized chocolate pancakes, drizzled with chocolate sauce and liberally sprinkled with icing sugar. She polished them off in minutes and for once I wished the serve was bigger. Still, I guess it is preferable to finishing half the dish and the rest going to waste.
At 8am on a weekday morning, the Fig was only half full and had that lovely, relaxed beachy feel. But they do not sit on their laurels staring at the surf like we do. When the waiter accidentally spilled a bit of my coffee into the saucer he immediately offered to go and get me another and replace the saucer.
The moment I made a lunge for my handbag to get up and pay the bill, another man appeared by my elbow with a portable credit card machine and my bill. He said he reads body language to make sure no one has to get up to find the register. (He did work for the Fig, he wasn't a roaming conman).
So, despite the lack of nudity, I was pleased with my breakfast at the Naked Fig. There may have been cause for complaint in the past, and it's possible that busy weekend service might be much slower than the speedy assistance we received, but I think that any previous criticism must have been taken on board. I would definitely return.