Saturday, 22 February 2014

The Weekend Review: Breakfast at PLENTY, Windsor

I have to confess that since my little family upped and moved across the country to delightfully rainy Melbourne we've gotten into the habit of having breakfast at a different cafe every weekend without fail. Sometimes we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of all the vibrant eateries at our doorstep and we may not cook a single meal all weekend. I suppose I'm out of the running for domestic goddess of the year now, aren't I? I love exploring all the hidden crevices of this city, so many tiny places radiating the promise of a full belly and no dishes to wash.

One of our recent expeditions was to a relatively obscure cafe on bustling Chapel St. I'll admit in our sleep-deprived haze we initially walked right past it. There's very little signage and unless you look closely I'm sure my fellow sleepy heads could also drift on by. We eventually arrived at around 8:30am, it was about half full and we were cheerily greeted and seated. Our drink order was taken while we hungrily perused the menu. I was on a sweet mission and opted for the 'Ricotta pancake, maple syrup & pistachio butter', Keith selected the 'Fruit pot, granola crumbs, buffalo yoghurt' and Oscar excitedly chose the 'Fruit toast with lemon curd'.

We placed our order and our coffees arrived promptly. The flavour was decent, a nice grind but the milk texture was a little watery and the temperature was a bit cooler than I'd like. I'm not one of those people that insists on HOT coffee but even I'd say the coffees were barely on the higher end of warm. Still, enjoyable overall. We finished our coffees early on in our visit and I would've like to have been asked if we wanted another coffee (we did!).

Our meals arrived after a fair wait, which was reasonable on a Saturday morning. All the meals were served at once. Thank you! Pretty sure my toddler thinks the world is going to end if his parents get their meals and he has to wait on his. So I'm always overjoyed when this crisis is averted.

My pancake was the thickest pancake I've ever encountered. I braced myself for something horrendously dense, or undercooked but I was very pleasantly surprised. It was crisp on the outside yet light and cake-like on the inside, the pistachio butter was simply beautiful, so much so I'm intent on making my own version in the near future. I devoured my meal with glee, the only thing I found I was wishing for was a bit of zing to the dish. The buttery, nutty, syrupy pancake felt quite 'heavy' by the end and I found myself longing for a bit of bitterness to cut the richness. The mild acidity in the ricotta wasn't enough. I'd suggest something like a touch of lime zest in the pancake batter would help lift the dish, but honestly it was one of the best pancakes I've been served in many months.

Ricotta pancake, maple syrup & pistachio butter ($13)

Keith's fruit pot was presented in a charming terracotta plant pot and brimmed with a wide variety of fresh fruit such as mango, raspberries, strawberries, rockmelon, pineapple and more. There was just enough yoghurt and the granola was chewy and flavoursome which added a welcome textural contrast.

Fruit pot, granola crumbs, buffalo yoghurt ($10)

Oscar's fruit toast was a pleasant surprise. He often gets one, occasionally two slices of thin fruit toast when we order out. At PLENTY he received three thick slices of fruit-laden toast and plenty of lemon curd to cover each piece. He wolfed down every bit and I'm pretty sure he would've taken the remaining lemon curd home had we let him.

Throughout the meal our water was refilled regularly and our empty cups and plates were cleared promptly. The staff were attentive without being overbearing. The serving sizes were generous and the prices were low compared to the surrounding competition (of which there is a lot). We left our plates empty but we were all full and content. On our way out we grabbed a couple of take away coffees for our trek back home and I'm sad to say these were rather bitter/burnt, very different to the coffees we'd had when we arrived.

During our visit we never felt rushed to free up our table, even though as time went on PLENTY was filling up rapidly. The atmosphere was casual, and comfortable. The decor is simple and sparse, which considering it's space constraints seems to be a wise choice. It's a kid friendly place and it was nice to see the staff happily chatting to the children dotted about. I will point out that it could be tricky to navigate PLENTY if you have a pram due to the narrow walkways so you'd be better off carrying bub, especially on the weekend when there's a steady flow of patronage.

Overall PLENTY is a welcome addition to the popular Chapel St cafe scene and is a solid option for an enjoyable and affordable breakfast. Quality produce and genuinely friendly service is certainly plentiful.

PLENTY on Urbanspoon


  1. Sounds like a nice little find! The pancake looks like a delicious UFO. :D

    1. Hahaha! I assure you it comes in peace. ;)

  2. I love finding great little eating spots on my city too. This one looks like a great place! The ricotta pancake looks really delicious.

    1. It's wonderful to have a little place away from home to escape to for a short break in the day isn't it?