Macquarie Shopping Centre is huge to say the least. You can easily get lost in it. There's a multitude of car parks and entrances. There's also a multitude of shops and a multitude of places where one can eat. Quell Cafe was a surprise find we came across one day by chance.
It's a bit of a hidden gem that presented itself in an obscure end of the centre that I would not have ventured to normally. It was only that my son was exchanging some clothes in Myer that I spotted the entrance. We were after somewhere new to eat and I wandered over to take a peak inside and thought 'Wow, this is it'. It is a large cafe-cum-restaurant with greenery aplenty and comfortable seating where waiters guide guests to tables. It looked impressive.
Excellent food and service have now made this a favourite of mine. The Greek owners are friendly and of the opinion that people shouldn't leave without a full belly. Generous helpings are big on flavour and made with love. You'll find traditional dishes amongst modern dishes, and Greek dishes amongst Italian and Mexican dishes.
Breakfast varies with choices that include acai & pink dragonfruit smoothie bowls; a fig & ricotta fruit loaf'; pesto or chilli-infused eggs; and Nutella waffles, amongst many others. Lunch also has many choices, some of which are seasonal.
Each visit of mine has been for lunch, rather than breakfast, simply because I don't have to rush to get out early anywhere. Between family and friends, we've tried a number of different menu options on different visits that have been given a tick of approval each time.
Moussaka was one of my first choices ($21). It came served with a side of Greek salad. Not your usual side serving size. It was huge and adorned half of the large plate. It was a very nice first impression, tasty and filling, with the only disappointment being that I couldn't fit dessert in.
My son chose the lamb yeeros served in Greek pita wraps with Greek slaw, tomato, fries and sweet potato curls (2 for $22). It was one of those dishes that when it comes out, it makes you go 'Wow!'. Two mountains of food were placed down in front of him. It was a wow for the size and a wow for how interesting it looked. He had trouble getting through it all so I had a taste. It tasted as good as it looked. The lamb was plentiful and so were the fries. I particularly liked the sweet potato curls on top. They were a nice touch.
On my next visit, I just had to get more of the yeeros. I went with the pork version and only one wrap ($17). It was very nice but I prefer the lamb from my visit with my son as it was tastier. A chicken version is now available too.
This catch up with a friend saw her ordering the Wagyu beef burger ($18). It came with American cheese, pickle, bacon, mustard aioli, tomato, lettuce, BBQ sauce and caramelised onion, served with potato fries. It was so good she couldn't go past it on a more recent visit.
I was determined to fit dessert in this time and decided on the ice cream sandwich with Maltesers, honeycomb and house-churned vanilla bean ice cream in biscuit layers ($12). It was another 'Oh, My God, Wow!' moment. Beautifully presented with fruit, a wonderful sauce and a pansy on top, the flavours were amazing. My friend indulged in it with me as there were two large pieces. We both loved it. I have to say it is the best ice cream sandwich I've ever had. Keep up the great work Quell.
Visit number three saw me introducing hubby to this wonderful marvel of a cafe. He went with the seafood basket of crumbed prawn cutlets, calamari and beer-battered flathead with dill aioli, a salad and a side of chips ($26). He proclaimed it fresh and filling, loving the orange in the salad. It got a thumbs up.
This visit saw me trying a new Mexican menu option in the Quell fajitas' ($18). They come in a choice of tender chicken or spicy beef. I went with the latter as I like a bit of spice, and that the meat was. With the plate adorned with sour cream, diced tomato, smashed avocado, shredded cheese, charred corn and spicy salsa, I tucked in to another wonderful lunch here.
With so many great options on the menu, it wasn't long before I dropped by for another visit. It saw me try the grilled John Dory fillet with lemon butter, slivered almonds, roast potatoes and orange fennel salad ($25). The fish was perfect and light, allowing me to fit in dessert, an important factor for this sweet lover.
Dessert for me on this last visit was chocolate mousse ($12). House-made, velvety smooth, beautifully garnished and presented, it went down easily. It was a winner, whilst a friend re-savoured that wonderful ice cream sandwich from her first visit.
As you can see from the options we've had, there is quite a range of diverse choices. Other interesting items that look likely to see me dropping by again are the harissa lamb cutlets, the gourmet sandwiches, and salads. They also do pastas and an Italian-style frittata full of healthy vegetables.
The separate dessert menu, with all items at $12 each, will certainly quell your sweet desires. Sticky date pudding, Nutella waffles and tiramisu are a few of the other delights you'll find. Furthermore, there is a cafe counter in the middle with bakery selections that will surely win you over.
As for the drinks here, you're looking at gelato milkshakes and smoothies (part of the reason I couldn't fit dessert in on a few occasions), juices, soft drinks, teas, coffee, beers and ciders, red and white wines, spirits and liqueurs, plus cocktails.
Between us, we've tried the decadent-tasting peanut butter, caramel fudge & choc chip shake; the Belgian chocolate shake; the strawberry sorbet shake; the mango & coconut smoothie; and watermelon juice, amongst others. There are lots of great flavour combinations to indulge your taste buds. All of these were around the $3-8 mark. The alcoholic drinks are reasonably priced as well, with the cocktails at $13 each, which is cheaper than a lot of upmarket bars.
Open for breakfast and lunch 7days, plus dinner 3 nights, Quell Cafe is one of those special places that keeps you going back time and again. It's charming and elegant, and at the same time, the perfect place to chill out.