Hidden amidst a façade of industrial buildings, Alexandria is full of popular cafés and gourmet food vendors. Despite my penchant for good food, Alexandria is not an area I have explored thoroughly in my 16 years in Sydney. Unlike Surry Hills, Glebe and Newtown (which are my other favourite Sydney suburbs), Alexandria is not easily accessible by public transport. However, after drooling over Instagram photos of their menu, Bread & Circus Wholefoods Canteen had been on my list of ‘places to brunch’ for months so I thought a visit to Alexandria was overdue.
Approximately 25 minutes walk from the nearest train station, I had to master the art of persuasion to convince some friends that Bread & Circus was a must-try brunch destination. Fortunately, our anticipation was rewarded when we discovered that the trek would be completely justified by our superior experience at Bread & Circus.
Not being able to decide whether we wanted sweet or savoury, we decided to share two ‘caramelised lemony banana pancakes’ ($19) and two ‘parmesan not-so-scrambled eggs’ ($20) along with two iced coffees ($5) and two fresh drinking coconuts ($5). When our food arrived, the vibrant colours of the ingredients made our food look like sunshine on a plate.
The ‘parmesan not-so-scrambled eggs’ were a twist of the humble scrambled egg with the Parmesan and truffle oil creatively enhancing the flavour of the dish. Eaten with the fresh sides of avocado, tomato and spinach on sourdough, each mouthful of the delectably fluffy eggs was exquisite.
The ‘caramelised lemony banana pancakes’ were flourless and thus great news for those on a gluten-free diet. Unless I am at Pancakes at the Rocks, it is only on rare occasions that I would order pancakes at a café because I usually find them sickeningly sweet and heavy after a few bites. The pancakes at Bread & Circus however, were incredibly light and fluffy with the menu informing us that they were made from banana, ricotta and biodynamic eggs. The sides of caramelised banana and strawberry were fittingly complemented this dish, adding a refreshing fruity tone to the pancakes.
With our bellies satisfied, we rolled out of the warmth of Bread & Circus only to find that the sunny blue sky that had overlooked us earlier that day had been replaced with pouring rain. Without umbrellas to shelter us on the walk back to the train station, we had to resort to staying indoors until the skies cleared. Conveniently for us, Bread & Circus is located in a building complex with several other cafés, bakeries and food stores – perfect for a rainy day expedition.
Our spontaneous adventure was exactly how we stumbled across our next discovery – Pana Chocolate. Lured by their glass display cabinet, we had to stop to admire the array of complex and colourful delights. We soon learnt that Pana Chocolate desserts not only look delicious but they are also every health conscious vegan’s fantasy as they are organic, gluten free, low GI, contain no dairy, soy or refined sugar and are handmade!!! Intrigued by how something could possibly be so healthy, we decided that we had to try some of Pana’s creations. However, with approximately 30 different types of chocolate available for purchase, our indecisiveness was exacerbated. Fortunately, the friendly lady behind the counter offered us some samples, which we eagerly savoured. We ended up getting two bars ($8 each) – one was a coconut & berry flavour while the other one was peanut butter & chocolate flavour. The bars were unexpectedly luxurious, given how ‘raw’ their ingredients are and had creamy, rich textures with subtle yet outspoken flavours. Pana chocolates would be perfect as a gourmet gift for special occasions like Mother’s Day or even as a treat for yourself after a long week.
Bread & Circus Wholefoods Canteen and Pana Chocolate can both be found at 21 Fountain St, Alexandria. Further information can be found on their website: http://breadandcircus.com.au
-Sue from Glasshalffit
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