Despite the presence of a kids’ menu, the toddler at our table insists on stealing bacon from her mum’s plate. She’s double parking, really. Each fist is clenched around a shard of the crisped pork. But it’s okay. At Meet Gerard, the relatively new neighbourhood corner cafe in Alexandria, the roll also comes with a crispy fried egg, charred tomato relish, aioli, and a smattering of salad greens. Mum makes do, and declares her roll pretty tasty, despite being robbed of the B from her B & E. There’s nothing like a mother’s sacrifice.
Three months in, and Meet Gerard is doing a solid trade on a gusty Saturday morning. It could do with the fact that there isn’t another decent cafe competitor for another...600 metres, which, for cafe-mad inner Sydney, is blasphemous.
Meet Gerard is a collaboration between Mariella Traina (formerly of The Counter in Petersham), and Sarah McWilliam (ex-head chef of Marrickville’s West Juliett). The hospitality veterans clearly know what’s good on the Sydney cafe scene. Breakfast hits familiar notes with eggs, cured salmon, a brekkie/brekky/breakie bowl, and of course, avo on toast. The latter is a delightful green mess of smooshed avocado, coriander and feta, with the zing of lime, pickled chilli, and something that MasterChef contestants would painfully dub “The Crunch Element”—a yuzu sesame crumb. There’s the option of adding eggs, or bacon, though tiny hands would have snuck it off my plate anyway.
No surprises with the chilli scrambled eggs. It comes as a bloom of creamy eggs with chopped chilli on toast, charred broccolini, goat’s curd, and a sprinkle of sumac. Yum.
The sweet breakfast options at Meet Gerard deserve a look in. The ‘Milk and Honey’ of yoghurt panna cotta and berries looks especially good, as does the porridge with banana, rhubarb and pecan praline. Hyperbolic lunchers will delight in the sandwich options, with names like “Best Roast Chicken Sandwich Ever” and “ULTIMATE Salad Sandwich”.
It’s a cruel thing, to have the pastry counter set at a small child’s eye level. While the adults split the bill at the counter, the toddler catches sight of the house-made sweet treats. I join her in smooshing my face against the glass, and admire the tower of cookies, brownies, and the pretty as a picture lemon baby bundt with freeze-dried raspberries. We grab one each, so there’s no stealing.
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Image credit: Federica Portentoso