I spent a bit of time pre-Sydney trip trawling through The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry for veggie cafe tips in and around Newtown. Her post talking up the excellence of the hash browns at Luxe Bakery pushed it straight to the top of my list, and we headed in to check it out on Sunday morning.
Luxe is popular - not quite so popular that you have to queue for a table, but popular enough that there's almost never a free space. It's a pretty big room too, with a couple of large shared tables and a scattering of smaller options. Bizarrely, they had basically one person trying to manage the whole arrangement - seating people, taking orders, rearranging chairs, clearing tables etc. Luckily she was possibly the friendliest, most energetic and most ridiculously efficient waitress we've ever come across, so things just about stayed on track despite almost constantly threatening to tip into chaos.
The breakfast menu is brief - eggs with a range of sides, a couple of kinds of muesli and toast plus a special of the day (meaty, at least on the day we were there). There's a short lunch menu as well, along with a massive cabinet full of sandwiches and sweets. Given the lack of pancakes/hotcakes/French toast-style options on the menu (and the reputation of the hash browns), Cindy went savoury, ordering scrambled eggs with a hash brown and some avocado ($10.50 + $4 + $4).
I ordered a variation on my standard brekkie fare: poached eggs, beans and a hash brown ($10.50 + $4.50 + $4).
Both of these were solid meals - well cooked eggs, nice sourdough toast (although only the one slice) and decent sides. The avocado was perfectly ripe and the beans were surprisingly richly flavoured - almost like a bolognese sauce. The hash browns came with such a lot of hype that we were both a smidgen disappointed - they were basically the same as the ones we make at home but a bit underseasoned. Sure, the texture was great (super crispy on the outside, lovely and soft inside) but they needed a good pinch of salt to really hit the mark.
We spent half our meal eyeing off the distant sweets cabinet, somewhat guiltily ordering an almond tart ($4.50) even though the demand for tables was growing.
This was top notch - sweet, light and studded with rhubarb pieces. It left me wanting to try more of the goodies in their front cabinet.
We were pretty happy with our brekkie at Luxe - the food was good, the service friendly and efficient (even if things would have been smoother if they employed two good waitstaff rather than just one excellent one) and the coffee solid. Prices are a bit high - we ended up busting through $50 for two meals, drinks and a shared sweet, which seems a bit much for the first meal of the day. It's not a relaxing place on the weekend either - you'd be a bold customer to lounge around reading the papers in the face of the steady stream of new customers. Still, it seems like a reliable source of decent brekkie food and good coffee - well worth the occasional visit.
There's lots of love for Luxe out there, particularly for the baked goodies - check out The Adventures of Miss Piggy, Raging Cravings, Sydney on Sunday, A table for two, heneedsfood, Culinary Creep, Grab Your Fork, twee-eats, The Empty Fridge, Sir and M'lady Dine Out, Beyond Bourke Street, wok you talking out?, green tea fields, Sydney Shop Girl, spoonfuls of goodness, spoon, fork and chopsticks, Food, booze and shoes, Mellie hearts Sydney, Beansprout's Cafe, Manmen's Journey, This Your Life... Are You Who You Want To Be?, One Spoonful at a Time and Sydney Coffee Nerd. Only Jugernauts: FOOD ODYSSEY has really been disappointed.
195 Missenden Road, Newtown
(02) 8084 1775
veg breakfasts $5-20+
Accessibility: There a few steps up to get to Luxe, and things are pretty crowded inside (particularly around the doorway near the cash register/takeaway coffee queue). There's full table service, and the staff are incredibly helpful. We didn't visit the toilets.