The eat street of Victoria Park continues to grow ever more delicious. Vic Park locals Catherine and chef hubby Roland Tan realised a long-held dream in November last year when they opened Harvest Espresso on Albany Highway. The cafe offers cheerful service with an all-day menu, 5 Senses coffee and fresh pastries baked daily.
It’s a tiny cafe that seats only 24 people, including at the tables and stools outside. Don’t let that put you off, but I wouldn’t recommend trying to squeeze a pram inside – you’ll take the chairs and customers along with it.
The place was packed when we arrived for breakfast a little after 9am on a recent Saturday. Luck was on our side and we nabbed the last free table in the back corner, right next to section of the front counter where the day’s baked goodies make an enticing display… and proved irresistible.
We ordered a couple of dishes to share. First was the Harvest Spanish baked egg (AU$17), served in a ceramic baking dish, gloriously bright with a wonderful aroma. It was presented on a wooden board with a stack of toasted sliced baguette and a sachet of Lurpak butter. The tomato sauce looks volcanic but its flavours are bold rather than fiery. It’s loaded with beans, chickpeas and juicy chunks of pork chorizo which have been removed from their sausage casing. It’s a brilliant dish for dippers. We buttered the baguette and dug in.
We also shared the seasonal mushrooms, rocket and goats cheese on toasted brioche (AU$15). The mushrooms were juicy and springy to bite, a nice texture contrast to the crumbly, curdy goat cheese.
Jac enjoyed her iced coffee. My soy flat white was rich and creamy and I didn’t hesitate to order another.
The pastry display kept evolving as we looked on greedily. The almond croissants were replenished as quickly as they disappeared, and three different kinds of tarts were brought out from the kitchen – lemon curd, mango and ginger cream, and apple crumble. They were all tempting, and Jac immediately wanted a lemon curd tart. Catherine kindly put one aside for her until we were ready for our ‘breakfast dessert’.
The lemon curd tart looks plain, but it’s a beauty – a crisp shortcrust pastry shell filled with a pale, softly set creamy curd that I longed to plunge my finger into. As pleasurable as that was, it was best to eat the curd and pastry together to fully appreciate their contrasting textures.
We also shared a mango and ginger cream tart with compliments of Catherine. Every time the spoon sank through the silky ginger cream was a “phwoar…yeah!” moment.
Slices of mango are laid on the bottom, then covered in the gooey ginger cream. You can definitely taste ginger, but it’s quite subtle.
“Phwoar… yeeeah, look that that!”
Before she became a cafe owner, Catherine was an interior designer, and she’s created a space that exudes warmth and rustic charm, with recycled timber tables, exposed bulbs in the wire light fixtures and dried wildflowers in jars on every table. Plenty of natural light streams into the cafe. But it’s that ever-changing display of freshly baked pastries that gives the cafe the feel of a country kitchen. The day’s baking and menu specials are posted on Harvest Espresso’s Facebook page. The tarts, muffins and cakes vary daily.
It’s such a small cafe that some customers will probably feel guilty for lingering too long and depriving someone else of the pleasure. But the staff were friendly and relaxed and never made us feel that we should hurry.
There’s a car yard on one side of Harvest Espresso, and a boxing gym and tattoo parlour on the other. It’s a little way from the main Vic Park cafe strip, so you’ll probably find a parking spot on the street.
With the addition of Harvest Espresso, Albany Highway has grown in character and flavour. Tart cravings may have risen sharply too.
629 Albany Hwy
Victoria Park WA 6100
Telephone: 0416 397 088
Open Tuesday to Sunday 7am to 4pm
NOTE: the dishes described in this post may not be currently available due to seasonal menu changes
TFP and Jac paid for all items apart from the mango and ginger cream tart.