Harvest Espresso, Victoria Park
Harvest Espresso is one of my favourite places to go for brunch. I’ve been there three times already in the past few weeks, and the food is consistently exquisite. The service is always brilliant too – pleasant and friendly, with lovely wait staff that deliver food quickly to your table. I especially love the ambience of Harvest – it is a tiny little café, but is always full of energy and warmth.
I had the pleasure of dining at Harvest Espresso a few weeks ago, sampling their current Spring Menu. The interior of Harvest is slightly smaller than your average café, though it often passes off as more cosy than cramped. Despite it’s size I have never had difficulty securing a table inside, which means I’ve got a good timing thing going with Harvest.
This particular Friday lunch, I started off with an Iced Chocolate ($6) with a quenelle of vanilla ice-cream. I love the Iced Chocolates at Harvest Espresso, simply because they use couverture molten chocolate which really suits a choco-holic like myself. The river of molten chocolate infuses the whole drink, and is delicious with the right amount of milk and ice.
My friend goes for the mocha, where she too becomes a victim of the couverture molten chocolate – she loves it and is soon craving more, however, resolutely decides that one mocha for the day is plenty. The rich hit of cocoa with the smooth, velvety milk steamed to an adequate temperate makes it the perfect start to the meal. So far, so good at Harvest!
My friend orders the mushroom omelette, capsicum, tomato, goats cheese and sourdough ($15.50), which comes with a large flat piece of white toast, a pan fried tomato dusted in herbs and a pillow of fluffy egg filled with mushrooms and bits of capsicum. There is a little packet of butter nearby. The dish itself looks exceptionally plain, but my friend reports that the omelette is well cooked and is generously seasoned, the goats cheese adding a nice sourness to the dish. A good one for the vegetarians out there!
I go for the Seasonal Mushroom Ragu ($16.50) when I devastatingly realise that the Baked Almond Brioche is sold out for the day. When it comes out, it is nothing at all like what I had envisioned in my head. The mushroom ragu comes in a little terracotta coloured dish next to a tower of criss-crossing ciabatta pieces. The ragu consists of a thick layer of silky polenta at the bottom of the dish, submerged in a pool of dark liquid reminiscent of thin gravy. A combination of mixed mushrooms pile atop the polenta, and bobbing alongside them are spots of feta cheese and a smattering of sprouts for decoration. The flavour of the ragu is curious – it tastes of something heralded from ancient Chinese medicines, with an aromatic herbal flavour palate. It’s super hot and the mushrooms are cooked well. The feta adds a zing to the dish. I quite enjoy it.
No Harvest specialty chocolate tarts are on offer that day (sad face), but there is a big fat cake sitting on the bakery treats corner counter. The Sour Cream, Chocolate and Strawberry Cake (~$6.50 a slice) is an absolute revelation. I could have devoured the whole cake, easy peasy. The cake boasted the crunchy exterior of a brownie, but was super moist and decadent on the inside (thank you, sour cream!) with a touch of chocolate ganache glaze on top. The presence of the strawberries provided a fresh fruity addition to what could have been a heavy dessert, and to make things even better it came with a little dish of fresh cream on the side. Mouthwateringly good.
On a separate occasion, I also dined with my sister where we finally got to try the rest of the new items on the Harvest list. My sister ordered the Chai Tea with skim milk on the side. It comes in a little pot, enough for about two and a half cups. I’m not a big fan of Chai itself – I often find it overpowering, but this Chai tea had balance and subtleness in the underlying flavours of the cinnamon and spices. There was also a hint of honeyed sweetness – a great warmth inducer. A touch of the skim milk does well to draw out the flavours.
The Harvest Pie ($19.50) was absolutely ginormous. It came served as a huge slab in a big dish, a layer of buttery crusty pastry on top. Peeling the pastry top backwards revealed a stew of braised beef and carrots. The braised beef was delicious and more-ish, the chunks of meat upholding that melt in the mouth quality that all slow cooked meats should have. Alongside the pie was the celeriac roulade; the celeriac was shredded and doused in mustard seeds coated in what tasted like a mild mayo. It was a nice compliment to the dish. Well worth the 15 minute wait, and good for the hearty meat eaters out there!
The Baked Almond Brioche ($17.50) is honestly in a class of its own. First and foremost, it was beautifully presented on two occasions. It is simply one of the most gorgeous things I have ever seen artistically on a plate for brunch. The brioche itself was crispy on the outside and had a light, spongy interior. How the brioche managed to retain its crunch despite being heaped with stewed strawberries was something else. The strawberries were cooked with great care; they still retained their shape but could be cut through with a blunt spoon. The crunch came from the tasty muesli, which was surprisingly buttery and complimented the poached strawberries. The chamomile panacotta had a perfect consistency. It was satiny and wobbled like any good gelatine infused dessert – the only complaint being that the chamomile flavour was very slight and almost undetectable. Alongside the flowers and strawberry coulis scattered around the plate, was a zesty line of dry-freeze berries that tasted just like sherbet. Absolutely amazing.
And then there is the tart. Oh my god. This chocolate ganache tart (~$5.50) is heaven. There are no words to describe it. It. Is. Phenomenal.
Just one more to knock off the Spring Menu list! I dined (yet again) at Harvest Espresso with a friend a few weeks later who was highly motivated to go there after she saw my Facebook food-brags. She went for the Baked Almond Brioche, but I’m ready to tick off the last item… the Crab and Local Broad Beans on Toast ($19.50). The crab was soft and moist, piled in abundance on a crusty slice of toast. The crab was beautifully fresh, with a delicate sweetness working well with the smashed broad beans, which were vibrant and heaped in a chunky layer beneath the crab. The two eggs were poached to perfection, with its signature golden yolk oozing onto the plate after it was broken. I loved the olive soil, which had a sharp salty hit and really elevated the dish in terms of contrasting flavours.
We finished off the meal with yet another of Harvest Espresso’s trademark chocolate ganache tarts and it is safe to say we were not disappointed. I’ll be back to Harvest in the coming weeks to try out their delicious food (and drinks) and to sample their new Summer Menu. In addition to the great food, the service is always consistently fantastic – the lovely shop owner is always keen to hear feedback from her customers and the food comes out speedy. Harvest Espresso is delicious, a real gem. I’m holding out for more fantastic food! One of my favourite brunch places in Perth, a must go. All Hail Harvest!
Rating: 8 out of 10.
Address: 629 Albany Hwy, Victoria Park 6100
- Open for breakfast and lunch (Tuesday to Sunday) from 7 am to 4pm (kitchen closes at 3pm).
- Get in early for the Baked Almond Brioche! It generally sells well in the morning and was out by the time I got there for a 11.30 am lunch session on a weekday!
- Harvest also does take-away coffee, cakes and muffins for those on the move.
- Supplier of Rawsome Products for those healthy eaters out there, with a selection of non-processed cakes, slices and truffles on offer.
- No reservations available, walk in only.