The Food Project: Beaufort Local

A couple of weeks ago we popped out for a lazy Sunday brekky at a spot I’ve been wanting to try for a while now – Beaufort Local. The space was previously occupied by the Beaufort Street Merchant which was a favourite of mine thanks to its tasty cakes and pretty salads.

It has now been completely revamped – the bottle shop was gutted, additional seating added, and the place fitted out with lots of greenery, some cute booths, an open kitchen and gorgeous light fittings. With the added bonus of the garden bar out the back, Beaufort Local was born.

Beaufort Local 3.JPG

In its new guise, it offers up breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks in a cheerful, comfortable atmosphere. On the morning we were there it was quite busy, however we only had to wait a moment for a table to be cleared. Beaufort Local is a lot bigger than many of the new cafes popping up around thee place, so it has a bit more of a vibrant atmosphere – there’s lots of people and lots of chatter, but we still felt like we could have a private conversation at our table for two.

The wait staff were super friendly and chatty, and quickly took our order from a menu focused on casual dining and seasonal produce, with the daily specials rounding out a small but inventive list.

There was a good selection of vegetarian items and it made choosing tricky for me. Drink-wise, I went for the dairy-free smoothie, made from mango, orange and coconut water, and it was delicious – thick, cold and not too sweet. My partner went with the pink juice – pink grapefruit, apple and mint – which looked pretty, but was a little on the bitter side for me.

The hot chocolate, made with real chocolate buttons, also caught my eye and would be well worth a try, and they had a good selection of fresh juices including the option to make your own mix. They also had drinks on the daily specials menu – the day we visited they had a watermelon, mint and lime juice as well as the toffee apple press, made with warm apple juice, salted caramel, aged rum and cinnamon, which sounded absolutely divine.

On the food menu, vegetarians can choose from a porridge (made with quinoa, lupin and tapioca, with pandan, coconut, strawberries and pineapple); granola with frozen yoghurt, honey, blueberries and candied orange; crème brulee soaked French toast; smashed avocado on sourdough (with crumbed egg, lemon tarragon yoghurt, coriander capsicum salad, feta and crispy capers); or the veggie patch benny – wild mushrooms, spiced tomato compote, feta, poached eggs, spinach, hollandaise and a bagel. The daily special was vegetarian too, which was a nice surprise and something I don’t see very often – called the winter garden brunch, it featured crumbed pumpkin and root vegetable gratin, crispy red cabbage, walnuts, garlic and parmesan sauce and a poached egg.

I was almost swayed by the porridge but as I’m a sucker for French toast I went with the latter, and it was quite different to any French toast I’ve had before.

Beaufort Local

The thick slice of toast was soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside, although I couldn’t say that it particularly tasted like crème brulee. It was served up with a caramelised banana, strawberry reduction and goat’s curd cream and balanced out with pink peppercorns which meant that it wasn’t too sweet, and I believe there were sunflower seeds in the goat’s curd that gave it a nice crunch.

It was a flavour combination I never would have thought to try but that I quite enjoyed, and together with my smoothie I was well and truly full at the end of the meal.

The top picks for the meat eaters were Babo’s baked eggs with lamb and macadamia meatballs, spiced eggplant, capsicum, tomato and feta filo cigars; the croquet monsieur with thick cut leg ham, mustard, cheddar, sourdough, tomato and cherry chutney; and popular three little pigs benny with bacon, chorizo salsa, pork crackle crumble, poached eggs, spinach, hollandaise and a bagel.

My partner went with the last option and it was nice and filling, and well presented, but definitely a lot of pork for one meal.

Final verdict: Despite being busy the meals came out quite quickly, and no attention to detail was spared. I’d be more than happy to come back to this bustling but fun and comfy space and work my way through their menus. PS – dogs are welcome at their outside tables!

Beaufort Local – 488 Beaufort Street, Highgate

Open every day from 9am til late

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