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Syd & Phyllis

Home > Perth > Cafes | Food and Wine | Gluten Free | Lunch | Restaurants
by Douglas Sutherland-Bruce (subscribe)
Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at:
Published April 11th 2018
If it's not in season itís not on the menu
Names have a fashion - it is even possible to guess pretty accurately someone's age if their name is Shane, Tracey, Kylie or Jasper, for example.

Names like Ruby, Esme, Euphemia, Oscar, Daphne and so are now considered old-fashioned. So 'Syd & Phyllis' are dated names and an odd choice for a modern-styled cafe.

But there is a reason, and a rather cool reason at that. The owners, partners Sam Oates and Jayde Ashworth have named the cafe, tucked away in the Railway Workshops complex, after Sam's grandparents. Sam worked at the Railway Workshops, as did Jayde's Grandfather, closing the circle.

The story is writ large upon the wall - 'If Syd never met Phyllis, Sam would never have met Jayde and we would never have met You.'

Syd & Phyllis, Sam Oates, Jayde, Gluten-free, breakfast, lunch,
Syd & Phyllis Cafe (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)

Jayde and Sam have exactly the right idea with Syd & Phyllis - the interior is crisp and clean, a relaxing dove grey with huge windows, and a mixture of padded benches, table settings, and a bar for quick meals.

The menu is heavily reliant on local fresh produce and aimed at as wide a patronage as possible.

My sister is celiac, so when we lunch together, gluten-free is an important factor. Syd & Phyllis caters for this, vegetarian and vegan choices as well as offering a wide range of food styles and cuisines.

They offer a breakfast menu (Mornings at the Table), an all-day menu (All Day Dining) and each has several choices for sharing and salads as well as an amazingly varied All Day Beverages menu of teas, coffees, juices and milkshakes. Milkshakes such as the 'Unicorn' ($9) of Grape, Banana & Strawberry milk with Junction Ice-Cream topped with Rainbow Sprinkles, Sour Worms and a Lollipop. (Just a wild guess, of course, but I think this may be aimed at the younger patron.)

syd & Phyllis, Sam Oates, Jayde, Gluten-free, breakfast, lunch,
Syd & Phyllis Cafe (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)

Roxy and I dropped in at 11:00am for an early light lunch or Brunch. We sat at the back on a padded bench, loaded with comfortable looking cushions and a view across the square.

We browsed the menu making appreciative noises and comments. Choice was difficult, especially after Roxy checked with the server about the gluten-free status of various dishes.

Unfortunately for her, Triple Cooked Chips ($6) were not an option as they were cooked in the same oil used for crumbed food (celiacs are really, really sensitive about gluten).

Syd & Phyllis, Sam Oates, Jayde, Gluten-free, breakfast, lunch,
Hola Avo at Syd & Phyllis (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)

However, the 'Hola Avo' ($16) passed muster. Served on a slice of toasted gluten-free bread it's South-west avocado, smashed, charred sweetcorn with tomato salsa and chipotle sauce.

Absolutely delicious, even the bread. Incidentally, chipotle sauce, if you would like to try making your own, consists of a chipotle chilli, mayonnaise, Greek yoghurt, coriander, cumin, dill and salt.

Syd & Phyllis, Sam Oates, Jayde, Gluten-free, breakfast, lunch,
Spanish Beans, Eggs and Chorizo (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)

For myself, I chose the Spanish Beans, Eggs & Chorizo ($18) of home-cooked Baked Beans, Spanish spices, two poached eggs, Chorizo, Manchego cheese and toast.

We ordered at the counter and both meals came with remarkable promptness. Roxy's looked lovely and colourful and tasted delicious.

Mine looked a lot less appetising being mostly brownish-grey, dusty with finely grated cheese - but, by Savarin, did it taste great? Rich, spicy, delicious, the poached eggs free-range (you can always tell by the colour of the yoke - these were almost orange) and perfectly cooked. The ingredients balanced and melded beautifully into a harmonious whole that I could eat many, many times before tiring.

Although those were our choices, we had a certain difficulty selecting them. Breakfast Bruschetta ($18) of blistered Heirloom tomatoes, Garlic Lima beans, pesto and Balsamic vinegar on toasted wood-fired bread looked pretty enticing, as did the omelette of sauteéd leek, tomatoes, herbs and Kale ($16).

These somewhat unusual breakfast choices came with classics - eggs Benedict (Old Bene - $18), Buttermilk pancakes ($16), Bacon and Eggs on Toast ($14) all offered with extras like bacon, mushrooms, beans, sausage and so on.

I followed my meal with an outstanding mug of coffee while Roxy felt inclined towards something sweet.

syd & Phyllis, Sam Oates, Jayde, Gluten-free, breakfast, lunch,
Chocolate cake with beetroot (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)

For a coeliac there are not that many options - chocolate cake seldom coming without flour. The chocolate cake served at Sid & Phyllis is made with beetroot for moisture and richness and has delicious, earthy tones.

syd & Phyllis, Sam Oates, Jayde, Gluten-free, breakfast, lunch,
Weak, weak tea at Syd and Phyllis Cafe (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)

Roxy like her tea weak, very, very weak. It has the kick of a sick mouse in carpet slippers. Syd & Phyllis were happy to oblige with a pot of hot water, milk and she supplied her own teabag of Darjeeling.

This, despite the fact that Syd & Phyllis offers Earl Grey, English Breakfast, Green, Peppermint, Lemon Ginger, Summer Breeze Raw and Tumeric Chai.

Syd & Phyllis is a clean, charming cafe of modern design offering good, innovative and traditional foods at reasonable prices with swift, helpful and polite service. What more could any diner possibly want?

Very Highly Recommended Indeed.
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Why? Great food, swift friendly service, reasonable prices.
When: Weekdays 6:30am to 4:00pm, Weekends 7:00am to 3:00pm
Phone: 0499 794 799
Where: 71/21 Foundry Rd, Midland Western Australia
Cost: $10-$25
Your Comment
the breakfasts look delicious, especially the Spanish Beans dish.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|12622) 927 days ago
What a lovely story. My mother's name's Phyllis (it means 'leaf')..
by May Cross (score: 3|7234) 927 days ago
Indeed it does. From Greek mythology. Phyllis killed herself for love of Demophon, son of Theseus and was transformed into an almond tree. (As the Greek gods had a habit of doing.)
Thank you for posting.
by Douglas Sutherland-Bruce (score: 3|1682) 927 days ago
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