Sunday, 17 February 2008


Sassafras has been seving up popular breakfasts and lunches at Paddington for years.

I hadn't eaten there for ages, but we popped in for a Sunday breakfast recently. If you haven't been to Sassafras before, it occupies an old cottage, with a yard area out the back. You can either sit inside at a table in one of the rooms, or outside which is a bit quieter.

The other thing about Sassafras is that it is usually very busy on weekends. Today was no exception. Although you order and pay at the counter, in busy times its usually a good idea to find yourself a seat first, or risk not having anywhere to eat when your food is ready. Luckily most of the diners are a pretty friendly lot, and there was no problem with us sharing a table with another couple out in the backyard. After we'd ordered, we watched the resident magpie walking around the backyard, picking up scraps as if he owned the place. Everyone is well catered for at Sassafras.

Sassafras has a good variety in its breakfast menu. If you're looking for something sweet, there is French toast with syrupy caramelised apples & double cream ($10.90) or the delicious sounding ricotta hotcakes with honeycomb butter & maple syrup ($13.50). There are also some different savoury options, like chilli corn cakes with hummus, spinach, crispy bacon & relish ($13.50) or more standard fare such as eggs benedict with baby spinach, toasted turkish bread, hollandaise & your choice of ham or avocado ($13.50).

Vegetarians are also very well catered for, with a great selection on the menu including a vegetarian big breakfast of scrambled tofu, toasted turkish bread, relish, avocado, grilled tomato, baked beans & mushrooms ($15.90) and mushrooms & tomatoes on toasted turkish bread ($10.90). Sassafras also has a good range of gluten free options, with all breakfasts being able to be prepared gluten free (except the scrambled tofu) for $1 extra.

There is also a wide selection of drinks to match with your Sunday breakfast. Cold drinks cover some refreshing sounding frappes ($5.50), fresh juices ($6), smoothies ($6), milkshakes ($4.50-$5) and iced chocolate/coffee/mocha ($4.50). Coffee is Grinders, and a flat white here is $3.50. There is also a good range of T2 teas, which seem to be popping up everwhere. You can get anything from a Darjeeling to a monk pear spi chai (whatever that might be) for $3.80.

There was a bit of a wait for our breakfasts, which was to be expected, given how busy it was. There are plenty of magazines and papers floating around to read, and we certainly weren't in a hurry.

Our coffees came out first. They were fine, but both had a decent amount spilt out of them into the saucer on the trip out from the kitchen.

Somehow the people sitting next to us, who had ordered after us, got their cooked breakfasts before we did, but ours came out shortly after. Unfortunately my poached eggs with "crispy bacon" and gluten free bread ($13) weren't the best. The eggs were great - a generous serving of 3 free range eggs, nicely runny. However, when the kitchen had plated up the poached eggs, they had also plonked on a fair bit of the water out of the saucepan onto my plate, which was basically swimming in water. That was bearable I suppose, but it quickly turned my toast soggy and watery - not exactly the most appetising breakfast. Also I am a big fan of crispy bacon, and if the menu says "crispy bacon" you'd hope it was actually crispy. This bacon was cooked, but definitely not crispy. If your bacon isn't going to be crispy, then just list it as bacon on your menu.

On the other hand, the mushrooms & tomatoes on toasted turkish bread with a side serve of avocado ($13.90) was very good. Although it came out without the avocado, we tracked down a staff member who quickly brought out a side serve, as it had been ordered. The mushrooms were perfectly cooked, still with a bit of bite, and were delicious. The tomatoes were also beautiful, and it was a pretty generous breakfast all round.

So our food here was a bit hit and miss. I know we were there at a busy time, but standards shouldn't slip just because there are plenty of orders coming in. A little more attention to service and presentation would have made an enormous difference to my meal in particular.

Sassafras is also open for lunch, and serves up some great sandwiches, salads and other meals. Next time you're in the Paddington area and looking for a tasty lunch, it's definitely worth a try. Sassafras also offers a catering service - check out their website for further details.

What does all this mean? A very popular, casual cafe for breakfast and lunch, but our food was a bit hit and miss.

food bling ratings
Food - OK
Service - OK
Ambience - Relaxed, casual spot with a great outside area
Value for Money - Good
Wine - BYO
Vegetarian - Great
Gluten Free - Great

88 Latrobe Terrace
Paddington 4064
P - 07 3369 0600
E -
W -

Sassafras Fine Foods on Urbanspoon


Alynna said...

I actually quite like their ricotta hotcakes and Eggs Benedict. Their coffee is not very impressive though. I consider West End to be a better destination for breakfast because of the abundant choices, not to mention that Paddington is less accessible.

pea & pear said...

I used to go to Sassafras for breakfast all the time. Doesn't sound like much has changed :)