AN essential ingredient for a successful café is the energy of staff. Bittersweet, Green Square, Kingston, was only open two days when we landed, but we agreed it is a “feel good” spot for a casual lunch or breakfast.
The vibe made us happy. So, too, did the display case showcasing breakfast and lunch options that each cried out “pick me”. Fresh, vibrant-looking salads; healthy house-made mains; inviting desserts – pleasure food at a decent price.
Bittersweet’s menu is not extensive, but designed around a manageable number of dishes prepared well, with items rotating to keep taste buds dancing.
My egg and bacon brioche – yummy at lunch or breakfast – was divine. The slightly rich, light and puffy brioche was a good match for the goodies inside. For my daily take of veggies, I had the fresh autumn salad with a light dressing ($12.50) and the chickpea, coconut and apple salad from the gourmet selection – a sensational combo of texture and taste.
The lasagne, made with tlc by Tim Geelan, one of the main operators who many may remember from his days at Kingston’s Idelic, hit the spot. Ordered with the spinach and mushroom gourmet salad, it was a super lunch ($14.90). However, the chunky chicken, mushroom and leek pie needs a bit of work. The pastry was a bit tough and, although the contents tasted delicious, the meat was fairly dry. A slight disappointment, but, hey, the place had only been open 48 hours.
The disappointment was forgotten with desserts. The gluten-free, flourless chocolate cake with chocolate ganache ($5) was “gooey as”. Tim’s famous white chocolate/raspberry muffin was declared the “best ever” ($4.50). And the lemon tart (pucker power) was another winner ($4.50). The cupcakes (organic and vegan, but still sinful), made by a local supplier, are pretty looking and we loved the chocolate one with soft raspberry in the middle ($5).
Bittersweet serves breakfast although not a full range. It is worth visiting for the house toasted muesli; pancetta, avo and Swiss cheese on toasted panini; or omelettes served with chargrilled sausage, caramelised onion and slow roasted tomato on sour dough (again, dishes rotate) – all perfect with a fresh juice. Soon to arrive is a range of sexy breads.
The interior has changed from the former Square Mile (and before that Zest). The walls are bright and the ceiling an attractive cocoa. The red and black chairs add a fun, chequer-board element.
Bittersweet has indoor and outdoor dining, with full sun outside. Tim is joined by Dan Rayner and Josh Gray (Durham Castle Arms experience). The team is injecting life into Green Square with good food, good coffee and good fun. The wifi is free and you can check Bittersweet out on Twitter and Facebook.
Bittersweet, open Monday-Friday, 7.30am-4.30pm; weekends 8am-4pm. Call 6260 7263.