Tucked in an arcade near Rockdale’s train station is a cafe I would’ve completely missed were it not for the recommendation from a former colleague (now paediatric colleague) CK during a chance encounter at Brothers’ Kebab in Banksia one night.
I visited on a morning in January 2021, a few hours after reassuring a well young man who had been hit in the eye by a low velocity empty plastic water bottle in ED Fast Track.
I had the Gangster Benedict ($21), an eggs benedict gangstered up by the addition of five spice pork belly, served on Pepe Saya’s crumpets. While I think the benedict components of the meal – the Hollandaise sauce and particularly the poached eggs were solid, if I’m being honest I didn’t really feel that the five spiced pork belly really added a great deal. As a person of Chinese descent I have made, eaten, and loved a great deal of five spiced pork belly in my day, and compared to these historical porks the one at Angry Gnome didn’t quite cut the mustard. Despite this, a quite positive mention should be made to the texture and composition of the crumpets, which felt quite complex and premium.
I don’t know if these crumpets were made by Pepe or rather just made with his butter, but they are almost worth ordering on their own.
Doggo outside the restaurant.
The Angry Gnome Espresso Bar 495 Princes Hwy, Rockdale NSW 2216, Australia 0413 131 040
We’ve eaten at Two Fives both in person and via delivery services.
This grilled chicken salad with Lebanese bread was not exciting. Very healthy. Wouldn’t recommend.
I really really loved the pea, smoked salmon, poached egg and hollandaise sauce thing. I can’t find it on their menu any more, but I would really recommend it if you see it on their specials board.
The mint coffee was good, the iced latte was pretty standard.
Two Fives’ I Stand Carroted ($21) is basically carrot cake pancakes drowned in mascarpone (however I don’t know how submerged they would be if eaten in person). I didn’t care for it much but my partner liked it.
We enjoy the Crispy Bird ($14), a chicken schnitzel sandwich with Tomato, Cheddar Cheese, Lime Garlic Mayo & Lettuce.
The cure($16), a breakfast burger/sandwich with a hearty helping of bacon, 2 eggs, potato rosti, lettuce, tomato, and sauces is delicious. It is one of the best bacon and egg rolls in the area, helped by the fact that it is not merely a bacon and egg roll. I can recommend this one.
The Miss Maroubra ($14 – not pictured) is basically a ham sandwich but yummy.
While their sandwiches are very expensive, they’re absolutely jam packed with ingredients. I can recommend Two Fives.
My partner will freely volunteer that I don’t usually pay much attention to my surroundings, both whilst eating, and also in general. Henry Lee’s was a bit of an exception – I thought it was a cool use of an old factory space – very Melbourne-esque – , with a nice sunny internal courtyard that we ate in.
My partner picked The Purple Fields ($18) (braised broccoli, sweet corn, garlic & parsley puree, scrambled eggs, prosciutto dust, crispy fried kale, marinated feta served on sourdough) with an additional soft shelled crab ($5). I was nervous about the choice as it was one of the least appealing items on the menu for me, but I did not speak out. I did not enjoy this dish outside of the scrambled eggs and soft shelled crab. I did not enjoy the taste of the braised broccoli, and I could not identify the prosciutto dust (from a marketing perspective, why not just omit this unidentifiable meat component and just mark it as vegetarian?). The sourdough also got quite soggy with the scrambled eggs sitting on it. The only saving grace was that we spent an additional $5 on a soft shelled crab, which was fried nicely but I felt had a bit of a bitter taste (my partner did not share this concern.) Overall a $23 that I would rather not have spent.
The Benny Munro ($21) (Five spice braised pork belly, purple slaw, turmeric pickled zucchini and crispy prosciutto with poached eggs & chipotle hollandaise, served on sweet corn & cauliflower croquettes) I enjoyed significantly more. The chipotle hollandaise, poached eggs, and slaw were a good combination. I did enjoy the single pickled zucchini that was allocated to me. One of the things I will mention is that when you order a dish with pork belly as the first ingredient listed you would assume that it would be a main component of the show. Instead what we got was two very small, somewhat dry pieces of pork belly, one under each egg. Having had a really good pork belly at The Cupping Room in Canberra in 2017, a dish that uses pork belly to its full potential, I expected much different and much better.
Hot beverages are one of the places where Henry Lee’s shines. I had the Tea Latte (left -$5), which was a lavender infused earl grey latte. It was my first tea latte (excluding the million chais), and I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed both the taste as well as the flower petal presentation. My partner had the Aztec Chili Hot Chocolate (right – $7) and it even came with a real chili! I was not sold on it but she enjoyed it a lot.
I went to Henry Lee’s today in search of Asian fusion brunch food, but ended up leaving disappointed. In retrospect I should’ve delved further rather than take the name at face value – it’s a reference to a Nick Cave song – and realised that while the menu had some Asian fusion elements these were more of an afterthought.
A couple of weeks ago I noticed a new mole on my left palm. This worried me for a number of reasons. The first of these is that you’re not really meant to have moles in areas of skin that are not exposed to the sun. The second of which was that this was new and therefore something potentially problematic. As someone with the baseline anxiety grade of 7 out of 10 I decided that I needed to have this checked and hopefully biopsied as we know that tissue is king. And thus we made it to the Upper North Shore for a two minute skin check, and took the golden opportunity to get some brunch as well.
We rarely have an excuse to cross the bridge and I had a number of restaurants lined up just waiting to be eaten at. Near the top of this list was Chimichuri, yet another Asian fusion brunch cafe.
My partner ordered the Earl Grey Latte (L -$5), also known as a “large fun milk please”. Unfortunately the fun milk was not as fun as expected as we found it to be too far too sweet. My soy latte (S/R – $4) was just a soy latte, pretty good, but no different to every other soy latte I have every other day. Drinks aside, I thought that the cups were particularly nice, as they had a large clear base that elevated the liquid holding portion and made the glasses seem bigger than they were.
The Black Benedict ($24) was basically a deep fried soft-shell crab together with a charcoal hamburger bun poached eggs and black dyed hollandaise sauce. There is also a very small amount of salmon roe which I found to have an odd taste and lacking in freshness. The Black Benedict is one of their signature dishes, however ultimately disappointing. My humble opinion is that the flavours were not very good or cohesive. I was also not a fan of the charcoal bun, and I believe the jury is still out as to whether or not this is good for your health or will actively cause cancer. Either way, I don’t think black bread really adds anything to the taste of food and I try to actively avoid it where possible.
I enjoyed the Scallop Shell ($24) much more. I thought that the croissant had a great warmth and airy texture to it. It was so buttery and tasty and probably one of the best croissant I’ve had in recent memory. The scrambled egg on the croissant was also very light and warm on the inside and reminded me of the scrambled egg from Dopa. I thought that the scallop was not actually as special as I thought there would be. While the main advertised attraction, there were only three scallops for the entire dish and I didn’t feel like they had much flavour to them at all. My partner, if given the opportunity to speak, will tell you that scallop is normally quite a light-flavoured ingredient and that there is often a lot of potential for scallops flavours to be muddled up by for example croissant or egg. She said it was much better eaten on its own, however even in its own mouthful I found the scallop to be a bit lacking. We will have to beg to differ.
3.5/5 , hit and miss
Chimichuri 1/6 Help St, Chatswood NSW 2067 (02) 8084 5272