Harvest Espresso, Victoria Park
Accumulating food envy is attributed to two of the seven sins – gluttony and jealousy. Shameful to say, recent times have resulted in food envy reaching uncontrollable heights. In particular, this would happen every time I went on Instagram. My favourite brunch place, Harvest Espresso, was gracing everyone’s Instagram feed, leaving me wanting to try this fabled “Mango Coconut Bread” that was stacking up the likes. Since my sister had visited it over a year ago, Harvest’s popularity had skyrocketed – more people were posting delicious pictures of Harvest Espresso’s Autumn menu on various social media sites, all at a consistent pace. I was so jealous that I couldn’t see straight, so for my sister’s birthday, I decided to take her there for a special brunch.
My sister, her best friend, my brother and I got there at about 10:30am on the school holidays. We secured parking right at the front of Harvest Espresso and within seconds, I realised we would not be able to find an immediate space for our party of four. The place was packed to the brim. I had never seen it so full in my life, people moving inside like fish in a glass bowl. There were even more people outside, who had been moved onto the outdoor table seating. No doubt Harvest Espresso was getting the attention it has always deserved!
My sister’s best friend went inside to put our names down on a waiting list, and within a 10 minute interval, we were given a spot right next to the coffee machine, before happily swapping brunch stories. Harvest has to be up there on the list for beautiful, filling food at decent prices – we were all discussing how places like Harvest Espresso are a great rarity here in Perth. Often you find yourself paying an arm and a leg for any form of food.
Our waitress came up with menus and informed us that the pork belly was sold out. I had a internal cry to myself, as I had been planning to get that dish, but instead I went for the next best option, the Harvest Prawn Roll ($16.50). I was relatively hungry at this point and the Prawn Roll did nothing but impress. It was piled high with juicy, springy prawns, coated in a creamy mayonnaise and cradled in a leaf of cos lettuce. If I had gone to a typical bakery, prawn rolls probably would have been a smear of smashed shrimp between a heap of lettuce and a ridiculous stack of tomato – not so here at Harvest. The prawns were the star of the dish.
The pickled onion on top of the prawns added a vinegary kick to the dish, clearing the palate before the next mouthful of prawns and mayo. The chopped celery was used sparingly, scattered throughout the prawns – this was well suited to my liking, as celery is not my favourite vegetable. The tomato had been cubed and mixed throughout. Everything had been packed into a gorgeous crusty, almost brioche-like roll. I love bread, and indulge in it as a simple life pleasure – nothing is better than a good piece of baked goodness. Beside it was a pot of crisps, dusted in something like paprika. Harvest didn’t let me down – the whole dish was fantastic. It made me forget about the pork belly in its entirety.
My sister and her best friend ordered the Bubble and Squeak ($19.50), which was an artsy masterpiece in itself. The bubble and squeak was an encrusted round of cornflakes, which contained a fusion of potato and cabbage. The vegetable farce was a medley of vegetables including zucchini, bell peppers, tomato and potato, tossed up in what looked like finely chopped basil. I loved the integration of the sweet potato crisp on top, a net of orange floss, perhaps provided to give an extra crunch to the dish, as well as some height. I also adored the spiced pumpkin puree which was nutty, silky and a perfect accompaniment to the bubble and squeak. Two poached eggs sat on top, gleaming in white before the knives attacked them, spilling golden yolk on the plate. Perfection.
My brother had the Full Harvest ($21.50) which came with sour dough toast, scrambled eggs, free range bacon, grilled tomato, pure pork sausage, grilled tomatoes and wilted spinach. The abundance of food on this plate was astonishing. No scant amounts of bread here at Harvest – two huge pieces of sour dough was enough to satisfy my brother, who pretty much inhaled the food. He left aside the mushrooms and the wilted spinach which I got to finish off. The mushrooms were well salted and sautéed till brown, retaining its natural juices. The spinach was nice and fresh, the scrambled eggs pillowy and velvety in texture. My brother was very content.
We weren’t leaving Harvest without trying the Mango and Coconut Bread ($19.50). We stared at it for a good couple of minutes as it sat on the table, admiring the beauty, the design, the resplendence of the dish. It looked almost too good to eat. It got to the point where we had to eat it, so I tentatively used my spoon to scrap away some of the ginger cream, which resembled lemon curd. It was was only mildly spicy from the ginger, smooth and glossy, speckled with crushed pistachios and blueberries, which all had been dusted in powdery icing sugar.
The strawberries that sat on top had been carved into and gently fanned out. Two things stood out for me – the brioche and the fruit coulis. The brioche was bright in marigold, vibrant and sweet. It was delightfully spongy and better yet had a glorious crunch to it, perhaps due to the coconut smattered on the very edges of the baked brioche. I’m not a big fan of coconut, yet this one had been used sparingly to add a crusty texture to the bread – a delicate touch and smart baking. The coulis was submerged at the bottom, crammed with mixed berries and a fine balance between acidic tartness and sugar. It worked well to counteract the saccharine qualities of the seasonal fruit and the brioche. There was a wonderful balance of every component and the attention to detail was applaudable. Delicious, delicious, delicious.
The Harvest Espresso drinks menu is quite extensive. I eventually settled on the Red Espresso Peach Iced Tea ($6.50). I actually don’t know what possessed me to try it, though I was feeling quite experimental that day. It was a peculiar combination. A fruity kick from the peach, mingled with the subtle earthy flavours of the tea, with a further punch from the Red Espresso, the faux caffeine element. It took a little while to get use to, but I did enjoy how refreshing it was.
My brother drowned his hot chocolate ($4.50) in a matter of seconds. I’ve said it time and time again that proper hot chocolates should be made from couverture chocolate, which Harvest has always upheld. My brother’s hot chocolate was warm, frothy and came in a tall mug. Very impressive. The pace at which he consumed the hot chocolate was a testament to how good it tasted.
My sister’s best friend ordered the Iced Chai ($5) which was beautifully aromatic and sprinkled with cinnamon. It was one of the best iced chai’s I’ve ever had – lightly spiced with nutty undertones. She added some espresso into it to make it a dirty chai, which further enhanced its flavour.
My sister ordered the Chai Tea Latte ($4.50). Being slightly lactose intolerant, she decided to go for the soy milk version, which Harvest Espresso was easily able to cater for. Best of all, she added a dash of espresso to “dirty” up her Chai Latte (the espresso borrowed from her best friend). The shot of coffee was perfectly extracted too!
I was so impressed by everything that I totally forgot to use the Entertainment Book voucher, which I had brought along. The service, as per usual was fantastic – there were extra personnel to cater for the growing crowds at Harvest, but everyone was friendly to the tee. The girls were so pleasant and worked well as a team – the food and drinks came out at a quick pace and we were checked up on by the owner, as she came over to clear our plates. Did we enjoy the dishes? Yes, we were in absolute heaven here at Harvest Espresso!
The food is something else – for a place that had an average price tag of about ~$19 a dish, it is well worth every single penny. Great effort is placed into the presentation and creativity flows through every section of their seasonal menu. I’ve fallen in love with Harvest – a high recommendation for anyone visiting Perth. You will not be let down.
Rating: 8 out of 10.
Address: 629 Albany Hwy, Victoria Park 6100
- Open for breakfast and lunch 7 days a week (7am to 4pm).
- KeepCup Brews also are stocked at Harvest Espresso, providing glass take away cups with cork heat protectors! They also do beautiful biodegradable cups, featuring stunning artwork.
- Reservations not available, walk ins only!