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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

All About...Romana's, Balmain

Campos coffee - large flat white $4.00

I'm not really a breakfast out person. I'd much to prefer spend breakfast asleep and wake up just in time for lunch. A late lunch is even better.

But on a gorgeous summer's day, a weekday when most people are working, even I can appreciate the little bit of luxury that a cafe breakfast can bring.

It can't start any better than with a Campos coffee. I'm overjoyed to see bags of Campos coffee beans sitting by the espresso machine at All About...Romana's, a bright, clean and airy cafe with funky wall decals, plenty of food magazines in the corner, and gorgeous Granny Smith apples adding a colourful flourish to each table.

Our coffees take about ten minutes to arrive but it's worth the wait. It's a deep rich flavour with a lingering but smooth finish. It's not quite as good as the coffees from the Campos cafe in Newtown but it's not too far behind. The rosetta latte art (also registered as the company's logo) is equally impressive.

The green eggs and ham (scrambled eggs with house-made basil pesto, double smoked ham and feta cheese on toasted sourdough $13.90) are the first thing that catch our eye on the menu, but we're probably more tickled by the Dr Seuss name of the dish than the actual thought of basil-flavoured eggs.

Divedude was starving. We could tell by his twitchiness and growing irritability. We expect him to go for the Romana special, the big breakfast of eggs, spicy sausage, bacon,
tomatoes, baked beans and toast for $14.90 but he opts for a DIY combination instead, one which seems to be a running favourite.

Scrambled eggs (free-range) with sourdough $7.90
with sides of smoked salmon and avocado $3.00 each

The smoked salmon is a deep sunset orange colour with a firm texture and smoky flavour. I would've considered the scrambled eggs a tad overcooked but Divedude likes his eggs well-cooked anyway.

Eggs benedict $13.90
Double-smoked ham and poached eggs (free-range)
served on house-made hash browns with James' hollandaise sauce

I'd hope to order to the triple pancake stack with ricotta, maple syrup and strawberries ($11.50) but after watching one sail past our table and placing our order, the waiter returns with bad news - they've run out of pancakes. I settle for the eggs benedict, but unfortunately here too, the eggs are overcooked for my liking. There's no delicious ooze of sunny runny egg yolk, but at least the hash browns are crunchy (if a touch oily) and the hollandaise is fresh and lemony.

Corn fritter stack with lean bacon, fresh avocado salsa
and house-made tomato relish $11.90
with sides of spicy sausage $3.00
and wilted spinach $2.00

Divemummy and I split the eggs benedict and the corn fritter stack. The corn fritters have nothing on Bill Granger's version, more a stodgy cake of flour that's studded on the surface with chewy corn kernels. The bacon, however, is deliciously crisp.

There's a great mix of freshly squeezed juices from $5.50, a variety of gluten-free offerings and the eggs are all free-range, the chicken is chemical and hormone-free. It may be called All About...Romana's, but for me it's all about the Campos coffee.

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All About... Romana's cafe
260 Darling Street, Balmain, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9555 1140

Opening hours:
Monday - Saturday: 6.30am to 5.00pm
Sunday: 7.30am to 5.00pm

Breakfast available until 12.00pm weekdays, and all day on weekends

Related GrabYourFork posts:
Balmain -- Adriano Zumbo (Jan09) and (Nov08)
Balmain -- Kazbah on Darling (b'fast) and (dinner)
Balmain -- La Boheme
Balmain -- Monkey Bar
Balmain -- Trojans

Breakfast -- Bar Biscotti, North Strathfield
Breakfast -- bills Darlinghurst
Breakfast -- bills Surry Hills
Breakfast -- bills Woollahra (Jun07) and (Jan07)
Breakfast -- Kazbah on Darling, Balmain
Breakfast -- La Grande Bouffe, Rozelle
Breakfast -- Pancakes on the Rocks Northmead
Breakfast -- Post Café, Marrickville
Breakfast -- Rendezvous Café, Burwood
Breakfast -- Yellow Bistro & Food Store, Potts Point
11 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 1/14/2009 12:48:00 am


  • At 1/14/2009 8:08 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Breakfast rocks. Breakfast out rocks even more.

    I love mornings. The sound of birds chirping, the lack of traffic and the promise of crispy bacon and hash browns. You can get so much done while enjoying your first coffee for the day.

  • At 1/14/2009 9:30 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    They ran out of out of pancakes?! Disaster!

  • At 1/14/2009 11:24 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Veruca, Breakfast out sans kids yes.

    Breakfast in bed sans kids even better.

    Helen, you forgot to mention Romana's was our 4th attempt at breakfast out that morning - yeah I was so looking forward to pancakes.

  • At 1/14/2009 2:39 pm, Blogger Miss Honey said…

    I'm the same, much preferring a late brunch to early breakfast out. With the eggs, I've always wondered, should I be allowed to expect poached eggs out to be runny yolked? Is that the default standard, or am I being a too fussy?

  • At 1/14/2009 9:33 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    I miss Australian style breakfasts. Funnily, enough in England, the home of the "Full English" they don't do it that well. The best places are all run by Aussies or Kiwis!

  • At 1/14/2009 10:23 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Veruca Salt - Bah to morning people! On that point, we will never agree :) On the few times I've gotten up early for breakfast, it usually means I'll skip it for sleep the next day :)

    Hi Arwen - Disaster indeed! I was gutted :(

    Hi Divemummy - Ahh I wanted to cut a long story short :) But yes maybe the pancake disappointment will have to be recitifed this weekend!

    Hi Miss Honey - I love runny yolks. There is no sadder thing than an overcooked egg!

    Hi Gourmet Chick - I found the best English breakfasts were in B&Bs. At one place we even have homemade strawberry jam. Divine! And it's so good to be fussed over. You'll have to take a mini-break just to enjoy a home-cooked breakfast :)

  • At 1/14/2009 11:06 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Haha agreed on the sleeping in that is why there are brunches :) I am quite intrigues by the green eggs now and want to try them haha.

    Too bad the food was average but at least Campos coffee is awesome ^^! I usually go for iced chocolate though haha

  • At 1/15/2009 9:17 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'd like to say I like breakfast out but brunch is usually all I can muster, especially on weekends and even then I struggle with the concept! However breakfast foods at dinner...heaven!

  • At 1/16/2009 12:04 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Miss Honey - my hubby is the total opposite to me - only likes his eggs well done. We've eaten a lot of breakfasts out over the years and we found runny yolks to be pretty standard when ordering poached eggs. He normally asks for his poached eggs to be well-done and even then quite often they will still have goo-ey yolks - more for me!

    Helen, oh don't taunt me! Hmm...I should make some for breakfast this weekend!

  • At 1/16/2009 12:05 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi FFichiban - Agreed. The best kind of breakfast is brunch. They had a Campos blend for sale called Obama: rich, dark and eloquent, I think it was described. It sounded great!

    Hi Lorraine - Oh yes, breakfast should be eaten any time of day. And yes, I love my weekend sleep-ins. They're the best way to start my day.

  • At 1/16/2009 12:08 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Divemummy - I'm sure the kids (big and small) would love that!


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