Where: Fifteen Pounds, 21-23 Railway Place Fairfield
What: A lesson for me to never order a latte on an upset stomach (hah, who am I kidding – I’ll never learn)
Bloat score: 1 – Had to loosen my belt a notch
Me: Should I order an almond latte? I feel kind of sick from last night’s dinner, but I need coffee.
Me: You’re right. We need to go grocery shopping after anyway.
Waiter who comes around that very second: Can I start you guys off with any drinks?
Me: YES PLEASE. One almond latte, please – thank you.
Partner: *Rolls eyes in resigned indignation*
And that was how I found myself gripping tightly on to sides of the car as my partner raced down St Georges Road, the trip to the supermarket all but forgotten by my rapidly clenching and unclenching stomach. We arrived home not a minute too soon, and I had to nap after from the adrenaline comedown and my exceedingly sore tummy, so I guess that coffee wasn’t really needed after all.
But I digress. This wasn’t Fifteen Pounds’ fault at all. The almond latte was smooth and velvety – its problem was that it was coffee and there is always a 60% chance that I will need to disappear from the table after having a coffee, regardless of whether it is made with a much maligned nut milk alternative or not.
Fifteen Pounds is a family-friendly, spacious café in Fairfield with a cutesy courtyard out the back, but like the vitamin D-deficient, summer-hating person that I am, I zeroed in on an empty table within the air-conditioned confines of the café.
With my love for potatoes well documented, I decided to go with the hash stack, which comprised house made hash browns, poached eggs, sautéed spinach, mushrooms and hollandaise sauce. My gallbladder-less body doesn’t tolerate hollandaise sauce in the proportions that its typically served in, so I requested for it to come on the side, and almost swapped the mushrooms for something else, because fructose, but felt like I was being too difficult and decided to give them to my partner. The residual mushroom juice left on my plate tasted garlicky, so I’m glad I made at least one sensible decision that morning.
The hash browns were light, fluffy and somewhat sweet – tasting more like a hash cake (the legal kind) than a hash brown. I enjoyed them. Coupled with the creamy yolk of the poached eggs that were perched atop, I barely noticed the absence of the hollandaise sauce, although my dining companion who ordered the exact same thing seemed to enjoy the combo in its entirety (as did Charlie Pickering in 2012).
Despite giving my mushrooms away, I came very close to not finishing my meal due to the generous proportions, but I am nothing if not a product of my parents’ upbringing and managed all the same.
My minimalistic partner who calls himself a ‘supertaster’ and exemplifies this by ordering eggs on toast on every one of our brunch outings enjoyed his bonus side of buttery Portobello mushrooms.
My other dining companion ordered eggs Benedict with pulled pork and I don’t remember a bad thing being said about them, so I’ll go as far as saying it was a positive experience.
In the end Fifteen Pounds was so family-friendly, we got kicked out by some baby in the courtyard who wanted some shade, but by then, we’d had the chance to order a second drink and were well and truly done with our meals. The baby also provided me with the perfect exit strategy, as my stomach had already begun to rumble in protest.
Despite still being in what I would call an inner north suburb, Fifteen Pounds is a welcome reprieve from the waiting that you have to do in your hungover and food-deprived state at the average inner city café.
I would have had a more amenable tummy after had I chosen to refrain from that ill-fated almond latte. Next time.
Fifteen Pounds is open from 8am to 4pm Saturday to Sunday and from 7am to 4pm Monday to Friday.