Following on from successful Youeni cafes in Surry Hills and Darlinghurst it's Castle Hills turn to get in on some of the action. I think it's really wonderful that a successful inner-city cafe has decided to venture west. It is good to know that businesses are starting to see the value of setting up shop in suburbs west of George Street.
Youeni's philosophy is to provide diners with local and seasonal food that is wholesome and delicious. The simple menu centers around the slow food philosophy and differs between breakfast and lunch - with just five or six items on offer during both services. A dinner service a few days a nights a week started recently too. Even though the menu is small I struggled to decide what to order each time I visit.
My first visit is just a few days after they're opened and the place is already buzzing with eager locals keen to check out the new kid on the block. I'm here for breakfast and start off with their juice of the day - a refreshing orange and apple juice that comes with a good kick of ginger.
Feeling in the mood for something more on the lunch side of things I order the absolutely scrumptious Pate Brisse ($8.00) - the shortcrust pastry of this savoury quiche is crunchy, buttery and simply sublime. I love that the side salad comes with pieces of citrus fruit thoughout.
I'm back a few days later to try out Youeni's version of iced-coffee, which is served just the way I like it...a shot of espresso poured over iced with a splosh of milk. As I'm sitting at the bar on this visit the barista asks me if I would like him to add some panela to it to sweeten it. I think I'm sweet enough, but sure why not.
The lunch menu is short and sweet but I struggle to decide on my order...everything just sounds so delicious. In the end I go for a hearty lamb sandwich ($13.00) that is served on bread that is freshly baked in-house every day.
This sandwich really means business. For starters it's HUGE, man sized really but I do my best to demolish it though it defeated me in the end which is really saying something about how big it was. What's more, they've added thick slices of potatoes in amongst the succulent lamb (which had a gorgeous crispy crust to it), lettuce and sweet chilli mayo. I'm all for carb-on-carb action: potatoes + bread = genius!
Oh look, I'm back again! To be fair I have been on a rather long holiday from work and it seems silly not to make the most of my break and enjoy cafes during the more quiet weekday. I'm not normally a fan of scrambled eggs (I used to be allergic to eggs as a kid so I'm kinda fussy when it comes to my egg loving) - but I read about these on Celia's blog and had to try them for myself. Apparently they are made without the use of cream or milk yet I found them to be so lush and creamy. Really good - and I love the charred tomatoes on the side.
Tara decided on the avacado on toast with a side order of mushrooms. She seemed happy with her choice and I have to say the meaty mushrooms really looked good.
The "things on toasts" breakfasts aren't huge but that's fine as I'd been eying off the dessert cabinet for a week now. It was time to dive on, tummy first.
I'd had my eye on the salted caramel tart and it did not disappoint at all. Initially I wondered why the tart came served a top of an old piece of menu, but as soon as I cut into the tart and the wickedly rich salted caramel glaze oozed out over the plate I had a light bulb moment...paper = less washing up. Surely that's it?
Tara chose the chocolate chai eclair which also had a slight ooze of it's own, hence another piece of paper underneath to catch the creamy chai filling. I loved the crunch cornflake-like topping that gave the eclair a nice audible crunch.
Youeni is a great addition to the neighbourhood - it's wonderful to have another option for weekend brunching + lunching. They also open for dinner a few night a week, and they also sell a few good looking things to take home like veggies, fruit, bread, muesli, tea...you know, the yummy stuff.
Youeni is at 250 Old Northern Road, Castle Hill. They are in the same building as Dan Murphy and there is a tonne of parking underneath.