Originating in Brisbane in the 1930s, there are now 50 stores stretching across Australia including Belmont Forum, the Perth CBD, Joondalup, Ocean Keys and Cockburn. Although built into major shopping centres, they are very distinctive with traditional lead-lighting, upholstered arm chairs, shingle roofing (where the name comes from) and wood panelling.
Essentially, the Shingle Inn is a little English tea house in the middle of Aussie suburbia.
Unlike other big-name establishments who do high tea, Shingle Tea not only offer theirs every day of the week, but you do not need to book in advance. For $27.50 per person, high tea includes ribbon sandwiches, petite fours, scone with jam and scream, a Lime Mint Julep as well as a tea or coffee. A kids High Tea for $10.50 includes a patty cake, a cookie and a ribbon sandwich as well as a kids milkshake or babychino. Brilliant.
The only negative thing I have to say about breakfast at the Shingle Inn is that it doesn't start until (generally) 8.30/9am which is when the large shopping centres open (the CBD store opens at 6.30am). Other than that, it's all positives (and not everyone likes to start their day early like I do).
Not only is the breakfast menu available all day (winner!) but you will find a fantastic variety of interesting meals from the Breakfast Burrito ($12) which is a toasted burrito filled with beef and beans, quinoa, salsa, cheese, cherry tomatoes, sliced avocado and a fried egg, to the Healthy Start Breakfast ($18) a choice of poached, scrambled or fried eggs, served with roast cherry tomato, mushrooms, spinach, baked beans, avocado and gluten free toast.
Other interesting mentions include the Shingle Inn Omelette ($15.50) which includes sweet potato, pine nuts, rocket, lemon, cheddar cheese and basil pesto with sourdough toast and a variety of Eggs Benedict which you can have with leg ham ($14.90), garlic mushrooms and spinach ($18.90) or smoked salmon ($19.40).
You will also find Banana Bread ($13.50), Swiss-style muesli ($11.90) and good, old fashioned eggs on toast ($11.90).
I tried the Smashed Avocado ($14.90) which came with two toasted pieces of sourdough, topped with mashed avocado, a single poached egg, small dish of spicy tomato relish, a generous pile of fresh rocket and a sprinkle of feta. It was beautiful and delicious, although if you are a big eater I would recommend ordering a second egg ($2.50).
My daughter was hanging out to try the iconic waffles, a perfect marketing tool for kids and sweet-tooths as they are all over the promotional material – and who can blame them, a giant waffle served with either butterscotch sauce or chocolate syrup, cream or icecream ($12.90) which you can then pimp with either caramelised bananas or mixed berries for $1. I'm not sure why the fruit just isn't included as a matter of course and the price increased. It is a generous serve, luckily, because it meant I got to finish what my daughter couldn't manage. Yummy.
I am a big fan of all-day breakfasts, but there are also lots of other great meals available for lunch and as an early dinner (closing time is generally between 5-6pm). Options include gourmet sandwiches, salads, sourdough melts and a range of light meals from fish and chips, schnitzel, burgers, soup and even truffle and ricotta ravioli!
All meals are under $17 with the majority falling between $12 and $17.
And then there is the cake cabinet… but of course, that is a story for another time.