Small Bites: Vans Café | Cottesloe, Corica’s Pastries | Northbridge & homemade blueberry friands
One of my favourite, go-to cafes in town. For breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert or just for a coffee. Despite being located on one of the most up-market streets in the affluent western suburbs, Van’s still has a welcoming, bustling atmosphere with the type of casual chic that other café’s can only try to emulate. These photos are from two separate visits.
A weekend late lunch for two. A very generous tasting platter served on a wooden chopping board. I can’t recall exactly what was served, but tasted fresh & fantastic. The only downside was the over-charred Turkish bread.
Next was a light, flavoursome dish that I have ordered multiple times & even loosely inspired this homemade asparagus, green bean & goats milk cheese salad. Lightly grilled asparagus spears, goats cheese, micro salad leaves & herbs on a warm puff pastry base. Simple & successful.
The next time we headed back to Van’s, it was in search of a full-after-a-big-dinner-but-still-room-for-dessert option. Thankfully Van’s is the type of place where you can pop in just for a slice of cake or dessert, during dinner time, without feeling like you need to order a main meal. The dessert crumble is ordered on a per person basis, so for our table of three, we ordered for two people & hoped it would be enough. Unsure of what would actually be served, it was a lovely surprise to receive a generous serve of crumble & fruit in warm ceramic pot, two scoops of vanilla ice cream & two shots of warm custard. However that’s where our happiness ended. The crumble was too crumbly, it fell apart like grains of sand. The only crunch came from the toasted muesli on top. The baked fruit underneath was lacking in flavour. The custard was as thin & runny as milk. Oh so disappointing.
Highlight The vibe. It feels good & it works.
Lowlight The uncrumbly crumble.
Rating 3.5 coffees out of 5
Will we be back Yes, but maybe not for the dessert
Details Van’s Café 1 Napoleon Street Cottesloe T 08 9384 0696
Homemade blueberry friands
The only thing I like better than homemade warm blueberry muffin is a homemade warm blueberry friand. What is a friand? Also known as a financier sponge, it is a small light French cake which usually contains almond meal & is baked in a rectangular or oval shaped mould. The almond meal gives the pastry a lovely chewy, nutty texture.
We baked this batch in our small round muffin moulds, flavoured with fresh raspberries & served with a light dusting of icing sugar. The small bite-size portion makes it irresistible to stop at just one or two or three.
Two words: apple strudel. Actually, make those three words: Corica’s apple strudel. I can’t remember exactly when I first made acquaintance with this light as air, golden flaky log of pastry, apple & cream heaven, but we have been best friends ever since. Possibly ten years. However it has been about two years since we had revisited our friendship. Thankfully one of my colleagues had the incredible foresight to bring in not one, but two wonderful freshly baked Corica apple strudel’s as his birthday morning tea for the whole office. There was enough for two or three slices per person!
It was surprising that only about a third of my colleagues knew about Corica’s famous apple strudel. Unsurprisingly, every person of some Southeast Asian descent was raving enthusiastically about it. Hop on a plane bound for Singapore, Malaysia or Indonesia & you are highly likely to encounter returning travellers toting a distinctive Corica cardboard carry box. Myself included. The pastries travel remarkably well & make excellent gifts for friends & family. Although they should be eaten within one or two days otherwise the pastry layers lose their crispiness. Not a problem. If you’re not familiar with Corica, their apple strudel or any of their other pastry delights – I highly recommend that you do.
Details Corica’s Pastries 106 Aberdeen Street Northbridge T 08 9328 8196