The engineer and the nurse

Dad was visiting in town and despite the forecasted bad weather, we headed to Faraday’s cage, a cafe in Fitzroy Fran had tried a few weeks back that she had been raving about. 

We were delighted when we found the secret back entrance to Faraday’s cage, which led us through the sunlit back garage/courtyard (dog friendly) and right into the warehouse cafe. The cafe was warm and a-buzz’in and I knew immediately that this would become one of our favourite locals.

Fran had ordered the chilli scrambled eggs the last time she was at Faraday’s cage, which she had described as light and fluffy accompanied by the most amazing sourdough bread she’s ever had. It didn’t’ take much convincing for my dad to order the dish (a man partial to scrambled eggs to begin with) – with extra freshly cut chilli on the side for an additional ka-pow. True to her word, the dish was delicious and generous and heart warming. 

Yes, heartwarming, just like the wife of the baker that started Faraday’s cage, who we had the good fortune of meeting. Speaking to her, apparently her husband was an engineer by trade but a passionate baker and perfectionist at heart. He left his day job to fully immerse himself in all things baked and is now the man behind the amazing sourdough bread, cronut and croissants served at the cafe. And boy, are those cronuts goood. His wife, determined to make sure they stayed afloat, decided to set up a cafe that served his delightful baked goods (he had obviously found himself a cheerleader). And this particular cheerleader is the sweetest woman you will ever meet. She casually offered to drive my dad’s electric scooter to the garage if he wanted – what a legend! And later she gave us a baguette to take home, which I carefully portioned out to last me 4 serves of vegemite and avocado on toast to savour ever last crumb of that humble stick of tasty bread.

Fran ordered ‘the mushroom’: sauteed mushrooms served with house made brioche, fresh herbs, smoked mozzarella, hazelnut crumb, crispy poached egg, pumpkin puree and truffle oil. Your first question is obviously what is a crispy poached egg. Fran describes it as a poached egg dipped in agedashi tofu batter which is then lightly fried. It sounded a bit masterchef like, and gosh did it look impressive. The poached egg was a little over done, but still, hats off to Faraday’s cage for trying something different. And overall the dish was still fantastic. 

I ordered the hot smoked salmon and fritters: hot smoked salmon, sweet potato and corn and quinoa fritters served with pea smash and a savoury vegemite-like relish, poached egg with kale salt. The fritters were wonderful cripsy balls, moist on the inside (but not mushy) and very flavoursome. The accompanying pea smash was sweet and fresh, and the relish added a deep rich mysterious saltiness. 

I hear the pancakes are to die for. Can’t wait to go back – rain or shine!

britt

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No biggie

Being a huge fan of San Telmo, I was very excited to try ‘CHE’. We headed there on another one of our Friday night expeditions. 

According to broadsheet, ‘CHE’ is spanish slang for buddy but also an acronym for the menu items (Chicken, helados and empanadas). In Singapore/Malaysia, ‘Che’ means ‘no big deal’. And unfortunately, ‘CHE’ was just that. 

The chicken was over priced and dry. The spices were overwhelmingly one note (pepper), and the salsa we ordered to accompany the chicken (smokey capsicum salsa) did not have any of the much needed freshness to uplift the dish. 

We ordered two types of empanadas – the traditional beef and the corn and cheese. I’m no expert in empanadas, but I prefer the pastry to be flaky and toasty. Quite disappointingly, the empanadas were anemic looking and tasted like under-cooked pastry of a dirty frozen meat pie (they looked nothing like the photos of the gloriously golden and puffed empanadas on broadsheet or goodfood) . Even store bought puff pastry sheets would have tasted better than the CHE pastry. The fillings were also nothing to rave about. 

We also ordered the burger (which we hoped would be the saving grace of ‘CHE’). The menu description of the burger was very enticing, including references to pickled cabbage and a spicy mayo type sauce. But it was another let down. The burger overall was tasteless and lacked seasoning. The patty was dry, and the accompaniments did not add any tang or spice to the dish, contrary to what you would think picked cabbage and spicy sauce would achieve. 

The dishes we did enjoy at CHE were the fries (they were crunchy as advertised) and the salads (we tried two: the whipped pumpkin and feta salad and the quinoa cooked in almond milk with pickled cucumber and golden beetroot salad) were fresh and tasty. Vegetarians, you would have been happy.

Would not recommend. Would not go back. 

 britt

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