19 November 2021

The Big Breakfast: Bittersweet's symphony hits all the right notes

| David Murtagh
Big breakfast

Bittersweet Big Breakfast. It’s all here. No extras required. And two hashbrowns. Two! Photos: Region Media.

Breakfast. Mid-morning snack. Lunch. Afternoon tea. Dinner. Pre-bed snack. Nutritionists agree, breakfast is one of the six most important meals of the day. And with the Canberra weather putting on the post-lockdown spring show we’ve been yearning for, there’s no reason not to get out of the house and make the most of breakfast.

But they can be hit and miss. Which is odd.

In theory, breakfasts – especially Big Breakfasts (is there any other kind?) – shouldn’t be that hard.

Step 1: Take a plate.

Step 2: Cover it.


Big Breakfast. The only item you need. Seriously, a Veggie Burger?

A Big Breakfast should contain at least seven items, in no particular order: bacon (OK, there is an order), eggs, toast, sausages, veggies cooked in garlic (mushrooms and spinach), tomato.

Job done, albeit with a thousand possible variations.

Want extra points? Throw in a hashbrown and don’t charge $4. Want a friend for life, add something avocado-related. For the omega-things. And don’t charge extra for that either.

For that you can slug patrons $25, your average diner will plough through a couple of coffees as well and maybe even write a column about how great it is.

Which is why this review is about Bittersweet Cafe at Kingston.

Let’s start with gluttony.

Nine items. Ten if you count the garnish (don’t count the garnish), including an avo smash and not one but two (!) hashbrowns. And we’re in double-figures.

So big-tick for quantity. But quality?

Irritatingly … nothing to complain about.

The poached eggs were perfectly runny, the tomatoes lightly salted and the toast, as requested, on the side until constructed into a fork of poached egg-avocado-toast heaven.

Poached eggs

Poached eggs at Bittersweet cafe.

Does toast on the side matter? Of course, it does.

It’s like the famous brown M&Ms rider in Van Halen’s contract. You’ve heard the story.

Van Halen’s concert contract stipulated no brown M&Ms backstage. This wasn’t just a huge band throwing its weight around (OK, maybe it was a little), but it was an instant sign to the band that the promoter had read the contract, which also said how much weight the floor should bear and how much power the lights would use. If the promoter got the little things right (the M&Ms), they’d probably get the big things right (Van Halen/audience not falling through the floor).

Yes, small things put together make a Big Breakfast worth the wait. And these days, it is a wait.

Getting takeaway is easy. Even going out for dinner isn’t a treat anymore. But ‘going out for breakfast’ is uncommon because we usually have a deadline – work – so most of us rush the meal. Maybe cold toast, a cup of coffee or a lumpy protein shake (that’s why you have to keep the shaker ball). So when you make the time to go out for breakfast, it means something.

That’s why it’s all about the detail.

Soggy toast covered by runny scrambled eggs wrecks the ritual. Why bother if the bacon is limp and sad? That’s all it takes. First-world problems? Sure. But problems nonetheless. That’s why you pay for breakfast. For happiness.

Which brings us back to Bittersweet cafe.

Immunity juice

Immunity juice: spinach, celery, lime, cucumber, apple, mint, fresh ginger. $9 well spent.

If you’re paying $25 for breakfast, you want everything to be worth it because $25 is not cheap but it seems to be the going rate for brekkie.

And on a cloudless sunny Sunday in spring in Kingston, with freedom in the air after weeks of lockdown, everything was perfect.

Even the numerous dogs lolling at their owner’s feet were well behaved. The service was lightning fast and the toast was on the side.

And there were two – count ’em – two hashbrowns.

This is a big deal.


Highgate Ln coffee. $4 better spent.

The only time you’re meant to get two hashbrowns is when your wife sends you out for coffee, you’re too lazy to leave the car, you go to Maccas (don’t make that face, you’ve been there) and you treat yourself with grated potato held together by oil and guilt. Guilt when you buy two and eat them both. Blistered tongue be damned.

But when it comes to a proper breakfast, with knives and forks and not scoffed before you walk in the front door, you’re lucky to get one in a so-called Big Breakfast and often they’ll slug you $4.

Yes, it’s the little things, but things like that keep you coming back for more. And with toast on the side, another first-world problem has been solved.

The Big Breakfast basics: Bacon, eggs, roasted tomato, mushrooms, hashbrowns (plural!), smashed avo and toast. $24.50. A bargain.

Extras: Bacon or salmon $5; hashbrowns, smashed avo, mushrooms, roasted tomato, spinach $4.

Toast on the side: Yes (with a touch of oil).

Coffee: Highland Ln Coffee Roasters roasted on site. Packs a punch, not bitter but one’s not enough. Seriously good. And check out that crema!

Service: Spectacularly fast.

Pets: Yes.

Bittersweet Cafe is located at the Cusack Centre, 27 Eyre St, Green Square, Kingston. It’s open seven days a week from 7 am to 2 pm. Takeaway menu also available.

Original Article published by David Murtagh on Riotact.

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