Quietly nestled among the cafes and shops along sun-dappled Crown Street is Mad Spuds, a cafe that specialises in potatoes. And not just any potatoes – they are organic potatoes grown in Robertson, in the Southern Highlands of NSW. The cafe serves Double Roasters fair trade locally roasted coffee, and prides itself on dishes that use locally farmed organic produce. While the spud features prominently, there’s plenty more than potatoes on the menu.
We’re at Mad Spuds Cafe for breakfast. Jay and I are especially interested in their specialty baked spuds but sadly, they’re not available for breakfast.
Jay chooses the chorizo bruschetta (AU$16), with grilled local chorizo, tatti bread and haloumi, served with bruschetta mix (chopped tomato, onion and fresh herbs), fig and fresh rocket, although the menu specifies spinach. It’s an interesting combination of hot/cold, flavours and textures.
The flat grilled tatti (potato) bread is especially good, but I’m delighted by the cheeky cat poo-like blobs of fig jam. At this point I should confess my delight stems from a fondness for toilet humour, not for figs.
Juji feels like something simple and orders poached free range eggs with toasted sourdough bread (AU$8) with a side order of pork sausage (AU$4). The sausages are stubby, plump and flavoursome.
I have my own pork sausage in the mad pan brekkie (AU$16), along with Boston beans, crispy spud skins, poached egg and two wedges of toast in a cast iron pan.
The beans are spicy and tender. It’s a delicious, beautiful hearty breakfast. It’s very filling – despite a desire to devour it all, I struggle to finish it.
We share a serving of cheesy crispy spud skins (AU$4). As soon I see the crinkly curls of potato jacket covered in melted cheese, I know I will like them. Mad Spuds, I’m sure I’m not the first to suggest it, but you know what would be even better? Deluxe cheesy skins studded with crispy bits of bacon!
Mad Spuds has a fun, relaxed atmosphere, with old-school wooden tables and chairs. The walls and shelves are adorned with potato-related paraphernalia, postcards and other interesting odds and ends – it’s like visiting an old auntie who likes cutesy collectibles and ornaments. Did I mention that potato-crazy auntie happens to be a great cook?
If you prefer to watch the world go by, turn your back on Mr and Mrs Potato Head (they’re there, grinning maniacally among the other potato figurines) and sit at one of the street-facing stools at the window.
The service is friendly and efficient. The staff member who serves us notices we’re taking photographs and asks if we’re bloggers. We tell her we are, and that we’re visiting from Perth. We have a quick chat about our trip and talk about where else we’ve eaten so far. She invites us to check out the special oven that they use to cook their speciality baked spuds.
I’ll be tempted to return to Mad Spuds for lunch on my next visit to Sydney to try one of their baked spuds. The chalkboard on the wall only captures part of the baked spud menu, but all three featured spuds sound pretty tasty to me.
The breakfast menu is both comfortably familiar and refreshingly original, with something for everyone – from plain old toast, toasties and granola to Spanish eggs and a vegan brekkie stack to two Irish-inspired dishes (the oat potato penny cake and the boxty), to Mad Spud’s version of the full fry-up – the spud plate, featuring pork sausage, black and white pudding, bacon, baked beans, cheesy spud skins, fried eggs and soda bread.
If that sounds good to you, go eat some mad potatoes (mad cheesy crispy spud skins highly recommended)!
Mad Spuds Cafe
Monday to Saturday 8am to 5pm
Sunday 9am to 5pm
I went to Sydney with my sister Juji and her fiancé Jay in November 2011.
See the list of posts so far, in reading order. There’s still more to come.